Purba on Barry Soetoro aka Barack Obama’s Indonesian connection.
Former Menteng student now US President
Obama Barack has been democratically elected President of the US.
Quite an about face for the best democracy money can buy, in view of the Bush presidential se-lection.
But of course, corruption, collusion and nepotism is the sole monopoly of the Third World – or so the deluded denizens of the West repeat to themselves as they hug their knees, rocking back and forth – reminding themselves of how they uphold human rights equally across the board, entirely devoid of double-standards and totally oblivious to race, creed or religion.
Barrak Hussein Obama II was born to a white American Ann Dunham and Kenyan Barrak Hussein Obama Snr, in Nyang’oma Kogelo now in Kenya.
Here the Indonesian link starts.
Ann Dunham married in 1967 Lolo Soetoro, a Javanese, whose own father, in 1946 was killed along with his eldest brother were killed, after which the Dutch army burned down the family’s home. Soetoro fled with his mother into the countryside to survive. Incidentally yet more proof of Dutch War Crimes – delibrate destruction of civilian property outside the scope of battle.
Pak Lolo Soetoro was an army geologist then later a government relations consultant for Mobil Oil. Obama describes Soetoro as well-mannered, even-tempered, and easy with people.
Barry Soetoro in Indonesia with mother Ann Dunham, step-father Lolo Soetoro, baby-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng.
From age 6 to 10, Obama lived in Jakarta. Age six, Obama attended the Catholic Primary St Francis di Assisi. Much was made of the lie he was educated in a Madrassa – or more accurately a pesantren – this of course was totally untrue. Obama Jnr later attended Model Primary School, Menteng and was registered as a Muslim – as his father was Muslim.
In Obama’s own words:
In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell my mother that I made faces during Koranic studies. My mother wasn’t overly concerned. ‘Be respectful,’ she’d say. In the Catholic school, when it came time to pray, I would close my eyes, then peek around the room. Nothing happened. No angels descended. Just a parched old nun and 30 brown children, muttering words.
One of “Berry’s” childhood friends was Adi who often visited “Berry’s” 16 Jalan Haji Ramli house. Speaking volumes of Dutch “development” at the time the road was of this established middle-class neighbourhood was a dirt lane where Obama used to wile away the hours kicking a soccer ball.
Adi recalled Obama and his friends wore plastic bags over their shoes to walk through the muddy street during the rainy seasons.
Neighborhood Muslims worshiped in a nearby house, which has since been replaced by a larger mosque. Sometimes, when the muezzin sounded the call to prayer, Lolo and Barry would walk to the makeshift mosque together, Adi said.
His mother often went to the church, but Barry was Muslim. He went to the mosque,” Adi said. “I remember him wearing a sarong.”
Obama spent most his spare time hanging out with Adi and other friends at the home of Yunaldi Askiar, a classmate. They used to play a kind of fencing game using sticks, kick a ball up and down the narrow dirt lanes or go swimming in the river behind the school, said Askiar, 42, a car mechanic.
Obama was taller and better dressed than most kids in classes where shoes and socks were still luxuries, so he stood out from the start. As an African American, and the only foreigner, he suffered racial taunts and teasing but never turned to violence.
“At first, everybody felt it was weird to have him here,” Israella Dharmawan, his first grade teacher said. “But also they were curious about him, so wherever he went, the kids were following him.”
His friends enjoyed playing tricks on Berry: Harmon ASki recalled,
“Sometimes we’d say, ‘Barry, do you want a chocolate?’ And we’d give him a chocolate. The next day we’d give him a chocolate again. The third time we’d give him terasi (fermented shrimp paste) wrapped up like chocolate. Obama didn’t get mad. He would laugh it off.”
Ann Soetoro moved to Yogyakarta, while Obama Jnr studied in Jakarta. She was inspired by Jogja village industries, which became the basis of her 1992 doctoral dissertation.
“She loved living in Java,” said Dr. Dewey, who recalled accompanying Ms. Soetoro to a metalworking village. “People said: ‘Hi! How are you?’ She said: ‘How’s your wife? Did your daughter have the baby?’ They were friends. Then she’d whip out her notebook and she’d say: ‘How many of you have electricity? Are you having trouble getting iron?’ ”
Dunham-Soetoro became a consultant for the United States Agency for International Development on setting up a village credit program, then a Ford Foundation program officer in Jakarta specializing in women’s work. Later, she was a consultant in Pakistan, then joined Indonesia’s oldest bank to work on what is described as the world’s largest sustainable microfinance program, creating services like credit and savings for the poor.
Obama in Hawaii with Maya and Ann and maternal grand-father, shortly after leaving Indonesia.
In his tellingly-titled Memoir, Dreams from My Father, Obama describes his Indonesian interlude as “one long adventure, the bounty of a young boy’s life”. But he also recalls being troubled by the poverty around him: “the empty look on the faces of farmers the year the rains never came,” and the desperation of the disabled beggars who came to the family’s door.
“The world was violent, I was learning, unpredictable and often cruel,” he writes. Obama and his mother thus we were very well acquainted with the harsh realities of indigenous Indonesians.
Fermina Katarina Sinaga, recalled yojhng Obama in her class: in the common task of class to write an essay titled “My dream: What I want to be in the future.” Obama “wrote ‘I want to be a president,’ ” she said. During a later writing assignment on family, he wrote, “My father is my idol.
The Indonesian connection for Obama and all that shaped him proving once again all things Javanese and indigenous Indonesian the bedrock for the towering monuments built on the foundations of a great civilisation.