Sunday, 8 March 2009

Jakarta wrap-up: Obama School

On Tuesday, I had a few hours left in Jakarta before heading to Bali. So, accompanied by the lovely Yunita, who took excellent care of us in Jakarta, and Mr. Akram Hariri of Al Hayat newspaper, we headed to Sonp. JL Besuki 4 Kec Menteng. This is the elementary school attended by none other than President Barack H. Obama from 1969 to 1971.

It was great having Yunita with us to translate. We only intended to take a peak from the outside, but the security let us into the courtyard, where a group of 8-year olds were rehearsing for a dance performance. In addition to the plaque outside the school gate, the walls all around are covered in photos of the US President. Students wrote letters addressed to him, saying how they look up to him, want to be like him. Everyone in the school is filled with immense pride that one of their former students is now President of the USA. And it's genuine pride. It's not a "let's capitalise on this & make money out of it" attitude. Or at least not yet.

And that was Jakarta.


  1. Hello - I am hoping for permission to reproduce your picture of the plaque outside the Besuki 4 Kec Menteng elementary school.

    The usage is non-commercial and non-political - in a University alumni magazine in the United States.

    One alumna wrote of attending the same school as President Obama - and your picture fits the letter perfectly.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration.

  2. Hi Mike,

    Sure, I'd be delighted to send you the original JPG file. Could you attribute it to this blog, somehow?

    Please contact me via email on mai dot abaza at gmail dot com. Send me your details and I'll email you the photo.

    Would also love to see a copy of the magazine / scan when it's out?