Cause of Wendy Jacobs' fall a mystery

SINGAPORE - The fall that left Wendy Jacobs confined to a hospital bed for the past month was so severe that she suffered temporary memory loss.

It also affected the nerves on the right side of her body, her mobility and her speech.

But how the South African-born model and wife of former footballer Fandi Ahmad suffered the injury in their Jakarta home is still a mystery.

Former Singapore national team manager Omar Ibrahim - who is also the father-in-law of Kadir Yahaya, Fandi's assistant at Indonesian club Pelita Jaya - was one of the first to be at the couple's side, flying to the Indonesian capital a day after Jacobs' accident.

Said Omar, who spent two weeks with Fandi's family, yesterday: 'Wendy was alone at home when the accident happened. Fandi was away at training. Nobody knew how she fell.

'Fandi returned home and rushed her to a Jakarta hospital, where she was kept under observation for two weeks.

'I flew over the next day to help Fandi and his family in any way I could.'

Jacobs, 35, returned to Singapore two weeks ago and has been at Gleneagles Hospital since.

However, it is unclear what her exact medical condition is.

Omar declined to reveal details of the doctors' diagnosis.

However, he added that she is 'making good progress and is recovering'.

Fandi, who was at his wife's side on Wednesday, returned to Jakarta yesterday and could not be reached.

The 47-year-old former national football captain said on Wednesday that Jacobs had suffered nerve damage during the fall and was unable to move the right side of her body.

But he added that she has started moving her limbs this week and is 'on the road to recovery' although she is still unable to walk.

Close friend and former team-mate Malek Awab said he felt for Fandi.

Said Malek: 'When I first saw Wendy after she was hospitalised in Singapore, she was not in good shape. I wanted to ask Fandi more but a look on his face told me that it's better not to ask.

'Thankfully, she is recovering now. I'm praying hard this will be over soon.'

News about Jacobs' condition has also sparked an outpouring of sympathy from her friends in the local showbiz scene.

Ex-MTV VJ Nadya Hutagalung, who roped in Jacobs as her bridesmaid at her wedding in 1998, dropped by the hospital yesterday with several other friends.

'We read about it in the newspaper,' said the 33-year-old. 'We are all worried and concerned for her well-being and we wish her a speedy recovery.'

Hutagalung also declined to reveal details about Jacobs' condition, saying 'it is a private matter that is best addressed by her family'.

Model Junita Simon said her friend's hospitalisation came as a shock.

She said: 'We exchanged some messages on Facebook only a few weeks ago, so I was surprised to hear the news.

'She's full of life and full of energy, and I wish her all the best.'

Others, like socialite Audrey Tay-Ong, said they had been aware of her condition some weeks back.

'We know she hasn't been well for a while,' she said.

'But there's nothing much we can do except pray and offer our support to her family.'

Jacobs' parents have also arrived from Cape Town to be by her side. But her children have remained in Jakarta, where they are being cared for by Kadir.


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

SERVICES