Barack Obama, the first black person who is currently considering a run for the United States presidential race in 2008, was remembered by the teachers and his friends at the Menteng Primary School, Jakarta, as the student who was left-handed and smart.
On a clear Friday morning, we were were welcomed by children's laughter at SDN 1 Menteng, Jakarta. The children aged from six years old were all wearing Muslim clothes. The boys were wearing the hat and baju koko and the girls were wearing a veil. Right? That the Islam school? No, that is the status of the all schools in the country since 1970. Each Friday, all the school childen must wear Muslim clothes and that also includes children who are non-muslim.
Not long afterwards, a child named Timothy spoke up. "I want to be like Obama (Barack Obama) ,” he said while laughing together with the other children.
Apparently, all of them have now come to know that the US presidential candidate for 2008 had once gone to this school in SDN 1 Menteng. Timothy delivered us to see Deputy Principal Akhmad Solikhin who was in his office. Akhmad was being visited by the United States Embassy staff. After having to wait for several hours, the party from the United States embassy left.
Akhmad said that since the news that Barack Obama had previously gone to this school in Jakarta, the world public seemed to be focused on this school that was previously named Carpentier Alting Stichting Nassau School. Including the US Embassy took part in attention. It is said, they want to give a big contribution to increase in the quality of the education in the school, the quality of the students, the teachers, as well as school facilities.
"For a long time we did not have any element of politics, we are always open" he said. Up until now this Primary School has established the same work as the Seameo Center-Bangkok, in fact the Homestay program in Australia ends February of this year. "We often sent the students and the teachers to Bangkok for the study" claims Akhmad.
But, we managed to succeed in investigating his teacher who had held the office of the principal named Tine Hahiyary (1971-1989). "At that time, I was not Barry's teacher but he is still in my memory" claimed Tine, who is currently 80 years old. The teacher who taught him was named Hendri but he has died.
Concerning the religion of the US senator, Akhmad Solikhin, the representative of the SDN head 1 Menteng, was not sure if Barry's religion was Islam. "He (Barry) indeed was registered as Islam, but he claims to be Christian" he said surprised. But, according to Tine the teacher, Barry actively took part in the Islamic religious lessons during his time at the school. His teacher was named Maimunah and she lived in the Puncak area, the Cianjur Regency. "I remembered that he had studied "menjaji" (recitation of the Quran)" Teni said.
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Kaltim Post - 27 January 2007