JAKARTA – Former classmates of the American presidential candidate “Barry” Obama launched last Saturday in their old elementary school in Jakarta the first Indonesian Obama Fan Club.
“Good Luck Barry,” 18 former elementary school classmates shouted enthusiastically, from their seats in their old classroom in Menteng, an elite neighborhood in the center of the Indonesian capital. In the early 70s, the American presidential candidate Barack Obama lived, together with his mother, for about four years in Indonesia–from the third till the fifth grade in elementary school. At that time, Obama used the name of his Indonesian step-father and was called Barry Soetoro in school.
“In the beginning, I no idea at all that Barack was really “Barry,” said former classmate Cut Citra Dewi during the launch of the fan club at the Indonesian detik.com. She is one of the over 40 former class mates of Obama. On Saturday, 18 of them came to their old elementary school to bring up memories of their “Barry.” At first he was a little shy, knows Member of Parliament Dewi Oetojo. “But he knew how to adapt quickly as a Westerner in Asia. With that experience, he can build a bridge between West and East.”
Obama’s Indonesian school years were a hot topic of conversation during the campaign. Rumors were circulating that Obama had attended an Islamic “madrasah” school in Jakarta. Reports surfaced again as a result of his Islamic middle name “Hussein.” The elementary school in Menteng where Obama took lessons for three years is really a secular government founded school.