A man who survived the Jakarta terror attacks has returned to the scene for the first time to prove the terrorists have failed in their main aim: to spread fear.
Manfred Stoifl was sitting in the Starbucks on Jalan Thamrin, waiting for a friend, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives right beside him, leaving him with serious injuries.
“There was a very bright white flash, immense heat, and the bang, I only know this from later, it threw me back in my chair,” Mr Stoifl said.
“It seems I was unconscious for a couple of minutes. When I came to, my first thought was that my laptop exploded.”
Mr Stoifl returned to the Starbucks cafe with the ABC.
We sat at his regular table to conduct the interview.
“That’s my place,” he said, gesturing to the chair.
The blast tore apart Mr Stoifl’s laptop computer, burned his face and arms, fired shrapnel into his forearms and burst both eardrums.
He did not know it yet, but the friend he was supposed to meet — Canadian-Algerian citizen Taher Amir Oali — was dead.
A terrorist shot him outside the Starbucks’ entrance.
Mr Stoifl and another wounded customer staggered out of the cafe through a broken window.
“We were a real mess — we were covered in blood.”
After surgery in both Jakarta and Singapore, Mr Stoifl wanted to come back to Starbucks to prove a point.
“I am not afraid. By no means,” he said.
“I am upset. They stole a good month of my life.
“They disfigured me slightly. Let’s see how the scars turn out.
“They broke some part of my hearing, but this is unfortunately the times we live in.”
He brought his scarred laptop with him — the screen blown completely off, and the keyboard twisted and tortured.
“Do you think this is still in warranty?” he joked.
Mr Stoifl runs a business in Jakarta that fits hearing aids.
His own burst eardrums have given him a new insight into his profession.
“If you’re in a business, especially health care, you counsel patients assuming you know what they feel,” he said.
“Now I know what hearing impairment feels like.”
He is upset some reporting has equated the terrorists with their victims.
“They say eight people were killed,” Mr Stoifl said.
“There were not eight people.
“Four people were killed. One of them was my friend.
“People describe human beings. Terrorists are not human beings.”