President Barack Obama spent four years of his childhood life living in Indonesia. He attended Primary School 1 in the Menteng district of Jakarta, where they referred to him as Barry.
Much of Indonesia still think of Obama as that ambitious child who someday wanted to be a president. Moved from the Menteng park to Primary School 1, there stands a seven foot statue of Obama as a 10-year old boy holding a butterfly.
His success has been materialized throughout Jakarta as an inspiration. Screenings have begun in Jakata of the new film Obama The Menteng Kid, due to be released on July 1.
The film is based on a book which explores a fictionalised portrayal of President Obama’s life from 1967 to 1971 when he was living in Indonesia. Obama is portrayed by Hasan Farooq Ali, 14, who told the BBC how the film helped him to learn “a lot about tolerance and how to accept people’s differences.” When asked about the removal of scenes where President Obama recites the Koran, producer Raam Punjabi told BBC:
“We wanted to make the movie from the point of view of the children. We did not want to enter into politics. We did not want to enter into religious matters. The message is about the friendship, about the determination, about reaching the sky and that is the sole message of this movie.”
The film was originally intended to be release upon President Obama’s visit to Indonesia, but his visit has already been postponed twice.