05 February 2010

Obama on the Move in Jakarta...

President Barack Obama is not only under pressure 'at home' in the USA but also under pressure in his second home of Indonesia. Obama having spent 4 years living in the Menteng area of Jakarta as a young boy has been adopted, almost, as a native son by some Jakartans. It was interesting to watch Obama-mania sweep Jakarta during the most recent US presidential election cycle.

The fact that Obama is so popular in Indonesia may be testament to the real lack of political heroes and figures worth following in Indonesian politics in the 21st Century, or it might just be simply enough that the man once lived in Jakarta.

The Obama-mania culminated with a statue of the young Barack Hussein Obama II being erected in a local Menteng park (photo above). However, not all the people of Menteng and Jakarta were comfortable with the idea of a statue of Obama being placed in their park. The main issue of contention is that there are many Indonesian heroes worthy of recognition with a statue, and then to have that statue erected in a prominent place in a local park.

The pressure has been building in order to have the statue removed. That pressure has now succeeded in seeing the statue moved. Obama is to be moved to the grounds of the school he attended as a boy, SDN 01 in Menteng. He might find the time to go and visit himself when he is in Jakarta. After all, he has promised to take his wife and children to some of the places he used to 'hang out' in as a kid. So, a visit to a statue might just be on the agenda.

Nevertheless, the Governor of Jakarta, Fauzi Bowo, is now on board with the "we gotta move Obama" movement. Bowo feels that SDN 01 is the most appropriate place for the current president of the USA to 'hang out'. Perhaps Bowo would support a movement to have himself erected in place of Obama in recognition of the leaps and bounds Jakarta has undergone during Bowo's term as Deputy Governor and now Governor?

In any event, it should be a good photo opportunity if Obama was to make a visit to the statue and enjoy a bowl of bakso while chatting with the current students of SDN 01 Menteng.


H. Nizam said...


Yeah you are right, when Obama visit his school at jl. Besuki he can choose to eat bakso either either from the bakso man in front of the school, or order it from restaurant across the street: Miranda aka Tan Goei.

Rob Baiton said...


I would like to say, "I am always right!", but that is not true now, is it? :D

Indeed he can.

What is most fun about the statue shenanigans is that no one seemed to consider that not everyone was pro-Obama in Indonesia. Also the failure to see that there are Indonesian "heroes" more worthy of the honour of a statue than Obama.

Seemed all a little out of whack to me.