Obama's Indonesian Dazzles at State Dept.

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Jan 23 15:06:54 UTC 2009

Obama's Indonesian Dazzles at State Dept.

 Share January 22, 2009 6:13 PM

ABC News' Kirit Radia Reports: As President Obama worked the rope-line
at the State Department Thursday, a State Department staffer named
Charles Silver, knowing the President once lived in Indonesia, shouted
out, "good afternoon" in the local language. Obama responded back in
what Silver later told ABC News was "very good" Bahasa Indonesian.
The two then chatted briefly about the neighborhood Obama once lived

When the staffer asked if Obama had lived in the Jakarta neighborhood
where embassy staffers live, Obama replied that was for rich people,
and he lived in another neighborhood with a similar name, one that
Silver said is where the "real people" live.  Silver told ABC News
that he has been stationed in Indonesia off and on since 1969. He's
currently working in the State Department's Office of Inspector
General. As far back as March 2007, Obama pointed to his years in
Indonesia as helping to prepare him for the presidency.

"If I go to Jakarta and address the largest Muslim country on earth, I
can say, 'Apa kabar,' -- you know, 'How are you doing?' -- and they
can recognize that I understand their common humanity," Obama told the
National Jewish Democratic Council during a Washington, D.C. forum.
"That is a strength," he continued, "and it allows me to say things to
them that other presidents might not be able to say. And that's part
of what's promising, I think, about this presidency."

[NB: this report includes a u-tube clip of Obama speaking a few words
of Indonesian, then switching to English.]


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