Dummies on Statues

“It’s just a statue of a boy who once lived in Menteng and liked nasi goreng [fried rice] and bakso [meatball soup],” – Friends of Obama Foundation Chairman Ron Mullers on why they put up a statue of a 10-year old Barrack Obama in Menteng

Oh this one needs unspinning soooooo badly.

If the purpose is to commemorate boys who once lived in Menteng and liked nasi goreng and bakso what you do is go to Menteng and throw a stone. There’s a good chance you’ll hit one of them. Boys who like nasi goreng and bakso are abundant in Indonesia, even in the elite area of Menteng. An overwhelming proportion of them would be Indonesians.

So why the statue of a boy with those characteristics from America instead of Indonesia? And isn’t convenient that that boy is now the President of the United States.

The mind boggles at how low people would stoop to polish apples and to gain a bit of a publicity, even when they do not enough money to build the brass statue to its full scale so that the Obama statue looks like a runt of a 10-year old instead of the normal sized child Obama probably was (Thanks for the observation, TP).

And what’s with the Barry Obama bit? The man’s name is Barrack and unless the guys here are so close to him that he would be comfortable to be called Barry, this is an attempt at familarity that would make even Washington gatecrachers the Salahis blush in embarrassment.

The Indonesians have one word to describe such behavior: L_E_B_A_Y. (American equivalent: cheesy)

So kudos to the Facebook group and the activists here. Join them and put the Jakarta Salahis in their place.

Facebook Group Wants Obama’s Jakarta Statue Taken Down

A 110-centimeter-tall statue of the young US President Barack Obama in Jakarta, the first of its kind in the world, has unexpectedly attracted the attention of thousands on Facebook who want the statue taken down.

A Facebook group called “ Turunkan Patung Barack Obama di Taman Menteng ” (“Take Down the Barack Obama Statue in Taman Menteng”), created by Heru Nugroho and Daniel Rudi, has stated that it will file a class action suit against the city if it gets 10,000 members.

More than 5,800 people have already signed up as members of the group, which was launched on Thursday — the same day the statue, erected in Taman Menteng, Central Jakarta, was unveiled.

The Facebook page has members discussing not only taking down the statue but also moving it from its current location to the Embassy of the United States of America, near Merdeka Square.

“Erecting the statue of Benyamin Sueb or Ali Sadikin would have been more appropriate,” said one member, Heru, referring to the late Benyamin Sueb, a legendary Betawi comedian and singer of the 1970s, and former Jakarta Governor Ali Sadikin, who was celebrated for his ideas to push economic growth.

Ali went as far as to propose building a casino in the Thousand Islands to help growth. This proposal was declined, but he is nonetheless remembered as one of the best governors the capital has ever had.

Heru said he realized people would sneer at him and call him a “busybody,” but he said he did not mean to attack anyone.

“I want to defend my country’s dignity. Why should we glorify people who have nothing to do with us?” Heru said.

“We often hear our state officials say they cannot do much for our heroes. So why spend so much money on a statue? Today children don’t know anything about national heroes Agus Salim [a Muslim intellectual], Chairil Anwar [celebrated poet] or those who have made some of the greatest contributions for Indonesia.”

Created by sculptor Edi Chaniago, the statue depicts Obama at 10 years old, when he had just started to live in the Indonesian capital with his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in 1967.

Obama went to the public Besuki elementary school in Menteng before he was sent back to the United States in 1971.

When contacted by the Jakarta Globe, chairman of the Friends of Obama Foundation, Ron Mullers, expressed concern over the negative reaction.

“It’s just a statue of a boy who once lived in Menteng and liked nasi goreng [fried rice] and bakso [meatball soup],” he said, adding that there was no political motivation behind it.

The bronze statue, which cost about Rp 100 million, was the initiative of the Friends of Obama Foundation and was funded by 10 Indonesians who have been acknowledged on the monument.

It was unveiled on Thursday by Central Jakarta Mayor Sylviana Murni, the same day Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

5 thoughts on “Dummies on Statues

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  1. Although the statue can be regarded as “Lebay”, but considering that it is already there, and the fact that Obama has once lived in the neighborhood, I think that letting it stay in the park would not be harmful.


  2. Why the fuss? Perhaps I’m missing something here, but I don’t get it. It was not funded by the public purse. Shouldn’t Indonesia take pride that it nurtured the early development of a widely respected man and significant historical figure? Maybe what Ron Mullers is implying is that someone who was merely a boy living in Menteng who liked nasi goreng and bakso, can rise to great heights of prominence.


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