Barack Obama’s Early Years in Indonesia

The current President and Nobel Prize Winner, spent his some of his childhood years in Indonesia, after his Mother married Lolo Soentoro, an Indonesian citizen and moved to Jakarta- the capital of Indonesia. Lolo met her at University in the United States. He ended up becoming an Executive of an Oil Company.

There would have been few expatriates in Indonesia. Jakarta, would of resembled a poorer Indian City,- rather than a more modern city, it is today. The Obama family lived in one of Jakarta’s more exclusive areas- Menteng. Barack Obama’s mother working as a secretary for the US Embassy, around 30 minutes drive from the Menteng area.

Education in Indonesia for a child of an expatriate would have been restrictive; International Education was first introduced for expatriates only in the 1980’s, and then opened up for Indonesians later in the mid to late 1990’s.

Choosing a school for young Barack would have been obvious, and as wealthy Indonesians traditionally believed Catholic Schools provided the best education. He attended two exclusive private Catholic Schools in the Menteng area.

His classmates fondly called him ‘Barry,” many may have been Moslems, but in a Country where it was illegal at the time not to state you have a religion. Many classmates could have been Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Catholic- common in many schools in the USA, today.

Many of his classmates stated that “Barry” was known to tease girls, and was very studious. He even studied at night- a VOA correspondence course, in the pre-internet age. He also once broke a bamboo school fence. But he was evidently well liked at School.

Critics and supporters often confuse the Indonesia today, with the Indonesia, when Barack Obama lived there as a child. It was politically a dictatorship, but with the active support of the USA, and Western Europe. But back then Democracies as we know them today- were extremely rare in South-East Asia.

Barack Obama’s Indonesian experience, has been portrayed in a negative light by some, but they choose to ignore or understand what Indonesia was like during the time of Obama’s childhood. And more importantly what skill’s he may of developed, because of this early exposure to a very different World, to the States.

Learning to get along with others, understanding different cultures, and creating a common goal that is easily understood- Important International Leadership skills in today’s complicated World. And perhaps Barack Obama’s early Indonesian years, helped put him on the long, and improbable road leading to his Presidency.