Monday, 18 June, 2018

Indonesian Diaspora Network Presents Leadership Award to Jokowi for Looking After Expats

Former U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the audience after delivering his speech during the 4th Congress of the Indonesian Diasporas in Jakarta Indonesia Saturday Obama visits childhood home Jakarta
Terence Owen | 04 July, 2017, 04:17

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo met with Obama at the presidential palace on the outskirts of Jakarta, with Obama delighting local media by greeting Widodo with "apa kabar" - how are you in Indonesian.

Obama visited with the president of the country and addressed a panel during the 4th Congress of the Indonesian Diaspora.

Besides announcing the withdrawal from the Paris agreement, the Trump administration is unraveling domestic measures that would have helped the United States reach its emissions target.

In what may have been a commentary on Indonesian and USA politics, Obama warned of the consequences of intolerance, restricting the freedom of the press, "aggressive" nationalism, and an "increased resentment of minority groups".

Obama lightly hit Trump on pulling out of the Paris Agreement on climate change but reserved most of his criticism for the general political state of the world and social media.

He reminisced about moving to Jakarta in 1967 when he was just 6 years old, shouting, "Indonesia bagian dari diri saya!" or "Indonesia is part of me!" It marked his first trip to Asia since leaving office.

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Obama is wildly popular in Indonesia, where many view him as an adopted son.

The statue of "Little Barry" - as Obama was known to his Indonesian school friends - depicts a young Obama dressed in shorts and a T-shirt with a butterfly perched on his hand.

He lived in the country with his mother and his Indonesian stepfather. The Obamas visited his childhood home in Jakarta, went rafting on the resort island of Bali and visited famous sites like Borobodur, the 9th-century Buddhist temple. The couple split up after having his half-sister, and Obama moved back to Hawaii when he was 10 to live with his grandparents. "So my time here made me cherish and respect for people's differences", he told a packed audience in Jakarta. But he said he has never forgotten the years he spent in Indonesia.

"China is the one country North Korea does depend on to some extent and the elites depend on to access foreign currency, basic supplies that are important to the regime", the former president said.

Indonesia has in the past and present seen a sharp rise in radical Islam, rampant homophobic violence and was recently condemned by human rights groups for imprisoning a Christian man for alleged blasphemy.

Located in the city of Bogor, West Java, the Bogor Palace is one of the six Presidential Palaces of Indonesia.

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