Statue of a Young Obama To Watch Over Indonesian Capital

By webadmin on 11:43 pm Dec 08, 2009
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Kinanti Pinta Karana

A bronze statue of a young Barack Obama is set to stand in the Menteng
neighborhood of Central Jakarta where the US president spent part of
his childhood.

“The statue is being erected to inspire
Indonesian children and help them remember that they can be whatever
they set their hearts on,” Ron Mullers, the chairman of the Friends of
Obama Foundation, told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday.

The
2-meter-tall likeness of a 10-year-old Obama, built at a cost of more
than Rp 100 million ($10,600), will stand in a corner of Menteng Park,
Mullers said.

He added that the statue was meant to remind
children that someone their age who once played in the neighborhood had
become a world leader.

Mullers said the statue was
commissioned by the foundation and was designed by Edi Chaniago, who
took three months to complete the project.

The project was
sponsored by 10 individuals, including businesswoman Mien R Uno and
businessman Hashim Djojohadikusumo. Mullers said the statue’s location
had been selected because the area had been Obama’s playground when he
lived in Jakarta as a young boy in the 1970s. Obama moved to Jakarta
with his mother, Ann Dunham, and his Indonesian stepfather, Lolo
Soetoro. Dunlop and Lolo met at the University of Hawaii.

He
said US Ambassador Cameron Hume would be present at the unveiling of
the statue along with students and teachers from the nearby Menteng 01
Elementary School where Obama studied as a child.

Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo is expected to be on hand to unveil the statue.

Ery
Basworo, head of the Jakarta Parks and Cemetery Agency, said the
foundation had asked for permission to use the spot in Taman Menteng a
month ago. He said he supported the project as a symbol of Indonesian
friendship with the United States.

“We only provided the place
and the statue did not cost us anything,” he said, adding that the
agency would cooperate with the foundation to organize maintenance and
upkeep.

Sylviana Murni, Central Jakarta’s mayor, told the
Globe by phone that she welcomed the statue in Menteng Park , which is
under her authority.

“The statue represents childhood spirit. Obama embodies the ideal of a successful child,” she said.