President Obama Speaks at University of Indonesia

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6 Responses to President Obama Speaks at University of Indonesia

  1. Indonesia is part of me, Obama says

    After a heavy electoral defeat, US President Barack Obama received huge applause befitting a rock star from thousands of students as he delivered a nostalgic speech on his childhood, including some local lingo, praising Indonesia as a powerful force for tolerance.

    An enthusiastic audience welcomed Obama as he appeared Wednesday morning on the podium of the graduation hall of the University of Indonesia’s Depok campus in Greater Jakarta.

    “Assalamu’alaikum [peace be upon you]. Salam Sejahtera [prosperous greetings],” Obama, who wore a black suit, white shirt and blue tie, greeted the crowd.

    Using Indonesian for a second time, Obama, who spent four years of his childhood in Jakarta, said: “Thank you for your warm welcome. Pulang kampung nih… [I’m coming home],” which caused a burst of applause and laughter.

    Around 6,000 university, college and high school students from Greater Jakarta, university staff, Obama’s former classmates, prominent public figures, officials from embassies, former Indonesian president B.J. Habibie, Indonesian Cabinet ministers and government officials crowded the hall.

    Obama, who claimed “Indonesia is a part of me”, recalled his memories as a boy who moved to a small house in 1967 in Menteng Dalam, Central Jakarta, after his mother married an Indonesian named Lolo Soetoro.

    “I learned to love Indonesia while flying kites, running along paddy fields, catching dragonflies, and buying satay and bakso from the street vendors,” he said, adding that he used to call a satay vendor: “sate …’,” to the laughing crowd.

    “Most of all, I remember the people — the old men and women who welcomed us with smiles, the children who made a foreigner feel like a neighbor, and the teachers who helped me learn about the wider world,” he said.

    Obama then praised Indonesia’s economic development and its transition from authoritarian rule to democracy as he touched upon the more serious topic of development, democracy and religion.

    “Indonesia has charted its own course through an extraordinary democratic transformation — from the rule of an iron fist to the rule of the people. In recent years, the world has watched with hope and admiration, as Indonesians embraced the peaceful transfer of power and the direct election of leaders,” he said.

    “Your achievements demonstrate that democracy and development reinforce one another,” he said, citing Bhineka Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity) as the foundation of Indonesia’s democracy.

    This was the third major speech in a Muslim country after Egypt and Turkey over a year as part of his efforts to bridge the gap between the Western and Muslim worlds.

    “In the 17 months that have passed we have made some progress, but much more work remains to be done,” Obama said.

    “No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust” but he promised, “No matter what setbacks may come, the US is committed to human progress. That is who we are. That is what we have done. That is what we will do.”

    He then praised Indonesia as example of a working pluralistic society. “Just as individuals are not defined solely by their faith, Indonesia is defined by more than its Muslim population.

    “That is not to say that Indonesia is without imperfections. No nation is,” Obama said. “But here can be found the ability to bridge divides of race and regions and religions.”

    Obama emphasized the importance of building bridge as the two countries committed to double the number of American and Indonesian students studying in each others’ countries.

    “We want more Indonesian students in our schools, and more American students to come study in this country, so that we can forge new ties that will last well into this young century,” he said.

    Obama closed his encounter with the Indonesians by getting off the stage and shaking hands with the audience in the front row.

    Some of his former classmates shouted from the second row, calling, “Barry, long time no see”.

  2. Obama’s Indonesia Visit Stirs Memories for Boyhood Acquaintances

  3. Ametia says:

    An exquisite post of photos and PBO’s speech to Indonesia students, SG2. Thank you!

    The energy, exuberance, and attentiveness of the crowd cannot be denied, by the media. Oh … I forgot, yes it can.

    LOL They love our POTUS. America truly does NOT deserve him.

    • I love our POTUS! And people around the world loves him too. He has that charisma & charm that draws folks to him. India & Indonesia showered him with love and respect. Thank you, India! Thank you, Indonesia!

  4. “Pulang kampung nih” (This is my homecoming)

    “Pulang kampung nih,” says Obama, recalling childhood

    JAKARTA, Nov 10: US President Barack Obama opened his address before a crowd of around 5,000 people at the University of Indonesia, telling the story of his childhood in Indonesia.

    WHEN YOU ARE IN INDONESIA… First Lady Michelle in a Muslim scarf during a visit with her husband to Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque, early today

    “Pulang kampung nih [This is my homecoming],” Obama said in Indonesian to a roaring applause.

    He went on to say he had spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia, arriving in Jakarta in 1967 when the country was facing economic difficulties.

    At that time, he said, the highest buildings in Jakarta were Hotel Indonesia and Sarinah mall on Jl. M H Thamrin.

    He also recalled a time when he lived in Menteng Dalam, and street hawkers’ cries of “sate” and “bakso” filled the night.

    “Indonesia bagian dari diri saya [is part of me],” Obama said, adding that his sister, Maya Soetoro, was born when he was in Jakarta.

    Obama’s mother also spent much of her life in Indonesia working to help the community through her award-winning research on microfinance.

    “When I went back to Hawaii, no one would anticipate that I would return [to Jakarta] as the President of the United States,” he said.

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