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April 17, 2007


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Commenting on some people that think that this might not be the same person, Indonesians (as most people do) refer to people by their ethnicity not where they live. A Japanese living in Fiji would be referred to as a Japanese, not a Fijian. So if he was referred to as a South Korean that is still not contradictory. There are some people who complains that this "Ismail" in the blog can't speak English, but that's not the case also. The blog was actually saying that "Ismail"/Seung Hoo was pretty good in Indonesian language.

And he's not teaching at TECHNICAL COLLEGE OF MACHINERY. STM is an equivalent of high school but more towards the BASIC practical technical side like woodwork, basic electric work and the stuff.

Palembang is a hotbed for Islamic activities in Indonesia.

Being an English Major doesn't mean you speak wicked English. Look at his play.

William - the dude was a senior English major. That means he didn't spend two years living and working in Indonesia starting in July 2006 (the date of the flickr photo). Give it up.

Hi Mithras. I admire what you're trying to do but I think you're closing the door too fast. I don't conclusively say that it is the same person but the door is still open in this case. There's no mention that he was staying for a long period of time or where he was from.

Unless the blogger come and say, sorry guys, the person is still living and breathing in Indonesia teaching then I would have to agree, yea it's a different person.

There's no mention that he was staying for a long period of time ....

Uh, yes there is:

"He and several of his colleagues from KorSel, was studying Indonesian for 2 months in WH. after that he will go to Palembang to teach the computer in the TECHNICAL COLLEGE OF MACHINERY for 2 years."

Plus, the mentally ill loner from America is a member of an Indonesian badminton team? No.

Dude, I was staying in Indonesia for 18 years and still carry Indonesian passport, I know my stuff.
STM is not "TECHNICAL COLLEGE OF MACHINERY" like you would think MIT and all other Engineering school. STM stands for Sekolah (School) Teknik (Technical) Menengah (Middle). They are the equivalent of High School but with added emphasis towards the BASIC practical technical side (stuff like woodwork, basic electric, machinery operation). The school was designed so that the students don't have to go to another education after high school to work in the practical technical field.
Teaching computer work in STM would not be further than teaching basic computer usage. The fact that you can open a blog and google some stuff up probably qualifies you for the position as well if you can speak Indonesian.

Palembang is a pretty big city in Indonesia, and is also a hotbed for Islam.

There's no mention about him being in the Indonesian badminton team. Korsel is not a badminton team, it's an acronym for KORea SELatan = South Korea.
These are fairly common practice for Indonesian. Hence we have Amrik for USA, RRC for China, Korut for North Korea.

She did say that he wanted go to Palembang and teach there for two years. But she didn't say if he finally went through with his plans.

Just because that guy in the picture has a few things in common with the VT killer, doesn't necessarily prove that it is him. First of all, if he really was a loner, he wouldn't be teaching anything at all! Not to mention, his name is NOT hard to pronounce!

I'm not closing the door just yet. His name maybe isn't hard for you to pronounce, but not to average Indonesian who probably saw a Korean guy less than 1 person in their lifetime.
Now think about this for a sec, how could an South Korean who has affinity of Islam taught at a high school even though he's not familiar with the language (Bahasa Indonesia) ?
Not only that. Out of many regions in Indonesia (Jakarta, Bali is a popular destination for tourists, foreign workers) he chose one in the outskirt with strong ties to Moslem?

I'm not saying that the person is identical for sure, but don't close the door just yet

It's not the killer. The picture is a dead give-away 'cause the chin is totally different! The guy in the picture has a wide chin and the VTech killer clearly does not!

Heres a slightly better translation... I wouldn't put too much faith in an internet translation. I'd help more, but some of it is in Indonesian/Javanese slang, so I didn't recognize some words....

"Just now I had a chat with a real WH guest. He is a South Korean. His name is Ismail.
Yep… You read that right … His name is Ismail.

I was also surprised by his name, trus sy tny dia, what is his proper name. Obviously thats an Indonesian name, usually his

name is Jo Sung Ho.

He and several of his colleagues from South Korea are currently here to study Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) for two

months in WH. He will go to Palembang to train in computers at STM for up to two years. Wow, susye bener ngobrol sama

Ismail/Sung Ho … because he is not yet fluent in Bahasa Indonesia. He also only speaks a little English (sami mawon sm sy).

But in my opinion, he is already more competant than his friends (I sometimes still like to laugh when his friends have a

difficult question with Bahasa Indonesia). Trus I told colleague Ismail, he had many conversations with Indonesian people who

were at the WH.

As for their names, they were asked to choose an Indonesian name personally. I had to ask why Sungo Ho chose the name Ismail, he said because he wanted to be friends with Muslims. Trus he mentioned the hijab, the named Ibu Siam (one of the WH employees) who wears the hijab.

I also asked about the Indonesian names of his friends. Ismail mentioned Indra, Azab (to torment, persecute) … yep…You also read that right … there was one with the name "to torment or persecute", bayangin aja!. Me, Mbak Rus and others agreed that name must be changed. Possibly tomorrow I will talk with Ismail ttg ini because we promosed to chat more tomorrow evening."

Mbak is a Javanese title of respect.

And yes, as William said, KorSel = Korea Selatan. Indonesian tends to drop letters in slang (Melayu does too... hence you'll sometimes hear people say stuff like "Bhasa Melayu" instead of Bahasa).

However, I think William is being excessively paranoid. Of course Palembang is prodominantly Muslim... MOST of Indonesia is predominantly Muslim (and Palembang is hardly on the outskirts!). Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim country for crying out loud.... AND, most Indonesians (most Muslims) DON'T HAVE ANY TIES TO TERRORISM!

Thats like saying anyone living in Kansas or Missouri has ties to abortion clinic bombers, cause alot of fundie Christians come from there...

Awww... but come on zoo, don't you know that all Asians look alike to most white folks? Come on... It doesn't matter if your from South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mongolia, India, Tibet, Hong Kong.... All Asians "look alike", because obviously people don't have different facial features, skin tones, etc.

Also, another response for William, there ARE Korean Muslims. Foreign workers from other parts of Asia and the Arab states have been working in Korea, and Islam has been adopted by some locals, much as Christianity (and even earlier, Buddhism and Chinese religion) were in the past. Besides, maybe this guy is interested in Indonesia's history.... A large part of which IS Islamic....

Also, you don't need to speak local languages to teach at places. Admittedly, I don't know why they'd need a Korean teacher, but I've known many people who have taught English who didn't so much as hear they local language when they did so...

And there's the slight detail that those two men look nothing alike.

Cho Seung Hui is not the same as Jo Sung Ho in Korean. The last name is the same (Cho is pronounced with a "J" sound in Korean, but some people Romanize it with a "J", some with a "CH"), but Seung Hui and Sung Ho are two different given names. I have also seen his name written in Korean in another new site, and it's not the same name. It's interesting; "Hui" isn't often used in Korean names...Oh, and it's pronounced "Whee" (whereas Ho is pronounced, well, "Ho"). Also, Seung and Sung are two different sounds and spellings in Korean. If anyone even cares enough to see the Korean difference, here it is (just tap into your browser's encoding command):
Cho Seung Hui: 조승휘
Jo Sung Ho: 조성호
And Koreans, once their Korean name is Romanized, don't hesitate to correct folks on how it's spelled or if the person can't say it, they will spell it out. So if this person had trouble understanding the name spoken, then the Korean guy would probably have spelled it out or written it down for the person. And "Whee" and "Ho" are distinctly different enough for the person hearing it to tell that it's two different sounds, even if the Korean guy never wrote it out or spelled it for this person.
Just a tidbit of thought.

Ok now I dont know if this has any thing to do with it but I thought I would through it out there. I took this from the bible.

Matthew 3:10

"And even now the ax is laidto the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

Ecclesiastes 10:10

"If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success."

Like I said I dont know if there is any connection but I thought I would through it out there!

Ok, so: the killer was a South Korean named "Cho Seung-Hui", studied at technical university and had "Ismail" written on his hand. The guy at flickr called himself Ismail, his real name was 'Cho Seung Hoo' or something like that (difficult to pronounce for Indonesian), he studied at the technical university, was from South Korea and looked exactly the same. What are the odds of this being not the same person? I'd say one in a million.

Uh, turns out the words on the shooter's arm were "Ismale Ax", not "Ismail Ax". Oh well, conspiracy theorists and jihad-mongers.

I wrote to owner of the flicker photo. She replied:

Thank you for you message. I just open my email after finished read the incident in the local newspaper. And it was full of messages regarding the speculation whether Ismail is the VT Shooter or not.

When I read those message and yours, I was shocked, and until I write this reply I’m still shocked.

To clarify this, my friend is not the VT Shooter.

Yes, the murderer name (Cho Seung Hui) had a very similar name to his name, Cho Seung Hoo.

Please note to the HOO and the HUI in their names.

I already saw the murderer picture in NY Times and other news websites. He’s definitely not my friend Cho Seung Hoo. They are completely different person.

First of all, they don’t have the exact similar face.

My friend is 25 years old not 23. When he came to Indonesia, he just finished his study in college majoring computer. He doesn’t speak English very fluently.

My co-workers are very fond of him because he is very friendly and always make time to talk to them while he was staying at our hostel. He is a very funny and talkative person, definitely not a loner.

Currently, he still teaching computer in Indonesia until next year and then he will go back to his homeland.

He is not a Moslem. He is a Christian. Ismail was ONLY his nick name while he studied Bahasa Indonesia. He maybe didn’t use that name again now.


I’m feeling guilty right now. Just because I put his picture in my blog and Flickr, he has to face that false accusation.

Please spread this message to your friends and colleagues so that they don’t ‘torment’ my friend with their accusation and stop this rumor.

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