From another list I subscribe to:

Still just fabulous and positive energy on the streets here in Jakarta and Solo, regarding how proud everyone seems of their "anak menteng" ["son of Menteng," a posh district of Jakarta]. Again in a taxi today--a different taxi company--the driver wanted to talk about the "great and charismatic anak Menteng" all the way from when I got in the taxi to when I arrived at the airport. Once mas Wakidi and I got to the airport and went in to a little cafe to get some coffee, all we could hear--left and right--were passengers (mostly businessmen types) talk about Obama and how excited they were.

We had a rehearsal at our house the night the election returns came out, and the rebab player insisted on dedicating his favorite piece (Klentung Winangun) to Obama and in honor of the election results. Then the 14 players at our house--who range from bakmi [Chinese noodles] and bakso [meatball soup] sellers from Tanjung Priok (the harbor district), to gas stove makers in Sunter, to members of Putra Pandhawa wayang troupe and members of RRI (Indonesia state radio)--begged me for a picture of him. They insisted I find one on the internet. They wanted to come home that night with a piece of memorabilia from their American friend on the election night. I found that picture on Google images that is of Obama aged 10 with his Indonesian stepfather Soetoro, and printed it out for each of them--two or three of them had tears in their eyes! My handphone filled up that night with 23 messages from friends in Solo "congratulating the world" basically.

It really is just such a different feel right now from just 2 days ago, to be an American in Indonesia.



Gan Ainm

September 2010

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