Indonesians were in frenzy for the past 24 hours as the US President Barack Obama visited the country. Live TV coverage glued his appearance from the moment he stepped off the plane accompanied by the First Lady Michelle Obama, the bilateral talks and dinner reception at the State Palace, the visit to the Istiqlal Mosque, and finally, a Studium Generale at the University of Indonesia.
Apart from the discussion result announced at the Joint Conference between Mr. Obama and the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or the good laugh on twitter following the worthless tweet by the Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring explaining why he accidentally shook the First Lady’s hands and even blamed Michelle for it, I particularly paid attention to the speech he delivered this morning at the University of Indonesia’s Balairung Hall. With confidence as always, he awed the scholars and special guests with his clear statements in a remarkably authoritative tone.
“Indonesia is a part of me,” was his first statement in Indonesian and was cheerfully applauded by some 6000 people in the hall. He uttered a few more words and received the same cheer, but at this point I cannot help but think that we are overdoing it. Sure, Obama’s visit has a strong romantic element in it, but it is much beyond a homecoming one; his goal is to forge stronger ties between the US and Indonesia as a US President. Therefore we must stop referring him as ‘Barry the Menteng Dalam boy’ and start calculating the profit and loss that we could gain from this visit. Indonesia is no longer a third world country that begged for international aid for projects; we are a key player in the global economy.
Now that the US President has left, it is time to get back to work and put that Comprehensive Partnership that was announced last night into reality.
Image source: politico.com