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Rising fame for Obama 'lookalike'

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Indonesia's Obama lookalike on his uncanny resemblance

A "shy" photographer in Indonesia is in great demand because of his resemblance to the new US President, Barack Obama.

Ilham Anas, 34, is already a celebrity in Jakarta, where Mr Obama once lived, but his fame is spreading.

He has appeared on Indonesia's premier TV talk show, done an advertisement as Mr Obama, and received other marketing offers from companies in the region.

The real Barack Obama went to school in Jakarta in the late 1960s, when his classmates knew him as Barry.

Mr Anas told Reuters news agency: "I was in the airport in Malaysia in transit and a man approached me and asked: 'Are you Obama?'. I was very surprised when he asked to take a picture together and bought me a meal."

Mr Anas's increasing popularity arose after his colleagues, at a local teenage magazine, asked him to pose with a suit, tie and American flag, following Mr Obama's election victory in November.

Obama "lookalike" Ilham Anas (left) and the real Barack Obama
I see my resemblance to Obama as a blessing - I used to look at the mirror and I had a negative perception of myself
Ilham Anas

Soon, they were taking photos and sending them to friends. "The pictures spread very quickly on the internet. It was phenomenal. Then TV stations and an advertising agency got in touch with me," he said.

Mr Anas was born and raised in Bandung, West Java. He says he is happy to cash in but there are limits.

"I will take all the opportunities that come my way, as long as they don't violate ethical codes and my personal values," he told AFP news agency.

And he admits that all the attention has given him something of a boost. "I'm actually a shy person. I don't like being put in the spotlight.

"I see my resemblance to Obama as a blessing. I used to look at the mirror and I had a negative perception of myself."

Many Indonesians have a keen interest in Mr Obama, who lived in Jakarta for four years after his American mother, Ann Dunham, married Indonesian Lolo Soetoro following the end of her marriage to Mr Obama's Kenyan father.



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