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Indonesia unveils a statue of Obama as a schoolboy

By Karishma Vaswani
BBC News, Jakarta

Obama statue, Jakarta, Indonesia 10 Dec 09
The statue shows the young Barack Obama holding a butterfly

US President Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, but that is not the only honour that has been bestowed on him.

In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, a statue of him as a 10 year old has been unveiled in a park.

The American president spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia with his American mother and Indonesian stepfather.

The two metre bronze statue shows President Obama as a 10-year-old child.

Wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, it bears a striking resemblance to the American president as a boy.

That is because the statue was modelled on old photos of Barack Obama when he used to live in Indonesia.

'Proud to be Indonesian'

The idea of erecting this statue, which cost about $10,000 (£6,140) to make, came from a local group called Friends of Obama.

"He only spent four years as a child, but you know what those four years may have been the ones that shaped him," said one of the group's members, Dalton Tanonaka.

"No other US president lived abroad for this extended period of time, this had to have shaped him," he said.

The statue shows Mr Obama holding a butterfly in his left hand to symbolise hope and to inspire Indonesian children.

The American president went to school in Jakarta and is a local hero of sorts to young Indonesians.

Many school children turned up to watch the statue being unveiled.

"I feel so proud to be an Indonesian, and I feel happy too," said sixth grader Dominica.

"He lived here as a kid, and he is very loved in Indonesia he is one of the most important people here and everywhere," she said.

Barack Obama is a leader Indonesians can relate to because of the time he spent here as a child.

That experience has helped the American president develop a stronger relationship with Indonesia.

Indonesians feel the American leader is one of their own and are looking forward to welcoming him when he is expected to visit next year.



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