6 Things to Know About Indonesia’s New President Joko Widodo


Newly appointed Indonesian President Joko Widodo (middle) being congratulated after his inauguration. — ST PHOTO: LIM SIN TAI

Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo is said to be affable and polite, and is described by many as the “man of the people”. Here are six things about the president known affectionately as Jokowi:

1. Born in 1961, Mr Joko grew up in the Central Java city of Solo as the eldest of four children. As a boy, he helped his carpenter father collect and cut wood, which the family sold as part of their living. He rode to school on a green Yamaha motorbike loaned from his uncle.

2. After graduating with a forestry degree from one of the country’s top universities, Gadjah Mada, in 1985, Mr Joko set up a business supplying wood flooring, before settling into manufacturing furniture. “My first exports were to Singapore,” he said. He successfully ran for mayor in Solo in 2005 and in 2012, he became governor of Jakarta.

3. He was a regular visitor to Singapore because two of his three children studied here. His youngest son Kaesang, 19, is studying for his international baccalaureate at Anglo-Chinese International. His eldest son Gibran studied at Orchid Park Secondary School before getting a diploma at the University of Technology in Sydney and an undergraduate degree in marketing at the Management Development Institute of Singapore. Now 25, Gibran runs his own catering business. Mr Joko also has a daughter Kahiyang Ayu who is 23.

4. The president and his wife Iriana dress and live simply. He prefers clothes that are comfortable and practical, and was often seen in plain white or red-and-blue checked shirts during his election campaign. His wife is also never seen wearing branded items, and most of her dresses are reportedly purchased from Tanah Abang, a major textile market.

5. Mr Joko is a big fan of hard rock and heavy metal music and lists Metallica, Megadeth, Lamb of God and Napalm Death among his favourites. “Rock music gives me motivation, gives me spirit about the environment, about the corruption, about justice,” he once said. “The beat of the drum – boom, boom – gives me spirit.”

6. He loves Indonesian street food, and has often been seen eating at a “warteg”, or a stall serving dishes originating from Tegal, a regency in Central Java. He was seen twice at a warteg with his party chairman and former Indonesian president Megawati Soekarnoputri. (Sources: Sydney Morning Herald, Bloomberg, Jakarta Post, The Straits Times archives)

Sumber: Strait Times, 20/10/2014


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