Barry Obama’s extremely enviable classmates

Unspun is so jealous!

While others are blessed with memory that would put an elephant to shame, Unspun has trouble remembering where he put the car keys each day.

Among the Blessed are Barrack Obama’s former classmates in Menteng because not only did they manage to go to an elite school and got to school together with the future President of the United States; they are also blessed with a memory bordering on total recall.

They must have eaten lots of ginko nuts because they are the only guys Unspun know of who has such uncanny recall of what happened to them when they were about 6 years old. How many of you  can recall your classmates that you went to school with for two years but whom you have not seen since then (be honest now)? Yet not one but at least eight of them have such prodigious memories that they would gather now and then to have memory orgies of Barrack, oh sorry, Barry, aka the boy with dumpling ears. Such familarity! Such chutzpah that would make even Tareq and Michaele Salahi blush!

But the real point of this posting is…hmmm…Unspun’s forgotten…so just read The Jakarta Globe story below:

When Obama Was Just ‘Dumpling Ears’

When US President Barack Obama officially visits Indonesia in June, classmates from his elementary school days are looking forward to seeing him again.

They may have known him for less than two years at school in the early ’70s, but Barry Soetoro, as Obama was then known, has become a source of inspiration and pride for many of his former classmates, said Rully Dasaad, one of those who befriended little Barry at Sekolah Dasar Negeri Besuki in Menteng.

“Barry affected our lives in a way,” Rully said. “He helped shape our personalities. I don’t know how to express it, but we are very proud to have been his classmates. Imagine, as US president, he is now the most powerful person on earth.”

Barack Obama and his primary school classmates in this class photo from the 1970s. Some of President Barack Obama’s former classmates were invited to the home of US Ambassador Cameron Hume a day before Obama’s inauguration in 2009. (Photo courtesy Widiyanto)Rully said this sentiment was shared by Widiyanto, Tita Tambunan, Donny Nyoman Moena, Deborah, Dewi Asmara, Ira Lesmana, Haryanni Barkah, Atik Isyanto and Yogi Dharma, along with many more of the “elite kids” from the school.

According to Rully, the school was where wealthy top government officials and bankers sent their children.

“Strangely, all the way from third and fourth grade with Barry to high school and up until now, we still meet and talk about nostalgic moments with him. We are all now in our late 40s, but we take time to gather, sometimes as many as 20 of us, to talk about practically anything as close friends,” said Rully, who works as a commercial photographer and technical surveillance instructor for elite security forces.

Widiyanto, who was Obama’s seatmate in third grade — back when students had to share a seat and desk built for two — said he was surprised when the US ambassador to Indonesia, Cameron Hume, invited him and Rully to his Surapati residence a day before Obama’s inauguration in January 2009 for a traditional slamatan, a ceremony for special occasions.

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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.