'Little Barry' back in childhood home, but this time he's president

Statue of Barack Obama as a child in a parc in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. Image posted on Facebook.
Barack Obama said it was “wonderful” but “a little disorientating” to be back in Indonesia, a country he spent four years in as a schoolboy, for his first official visit as US president. One of his old schoolmates remembers the boy Indonesians know as ‘little Barry’.
Obama, who lived in the capital Jakarta with his mother and Indonesian stepfather as a child between 1967 and 1971, said he could hardly recognise the teeming, modern city. Speaking at a press conference after talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, he said he had "great affection for the people" of the mainly Muslim south-east Asian country. "Obviously I have a sister who is half Indonesian, my mother lived and worked here for a long time, so the sights and the sounds and the memories all feel very familiar," he said.
Nevertheless, the president was forced to shorten his whirlwind visit to his childhood home by two hours due to fears that volcanic ash spewing from Mount Metapi volcano in central Java, which has recently plagued aviation in the region, could ground his flight.
The US embassy invited 26 of Obama’s former classmates to hear him speak at the University of Indonesia. They say they clearly remember a tall, slightly chubby boy they called “Barry”.
The two metre high statue bears a sign that reads : "The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams".

"He made a big effort to adapt and make friends"

Rully Dasaad was a classmate of Obama's in 1970 in Jakarta.
Barack Obama, "Barry" as we called him, was always a good pupil. Always in a good mood, always smiling. He made a big effort to adapt and make friends; being different was no problem. At that time, the scout captain named Barry leader of group A. I was in that group. It was him who gave the order to stand to attention or at ease. At school we all spoke in Indonesian, and he learnt how to speak it too. He knows our language.
He spent two years at the Catholic school and then two years with us. The rumours about him attending an “Islamic Madrass” are nothing but lies. It's just because his step-father and father are Muslim. At that time there was no mini-mosque like now [there's a small mosque inside the school now]. This school was a normal public school. There were Chinese Buddhist pupils, Hindus from Bali, Christians and Muslims. Everyone was mixed up. It was not a school reserved for Muslims, not at all. Most children from well-off families came to study at the school. Suharto's young children also went there.

We lost touch with Barry after he left. And then suddenly a few years ago a friend said to me "I saw Barry in a magazine, he's putting himself up for the presidential election". I said "are you sure?" and went to find out if it was true - which it was. We took this photo to show Barry our solidarity and support. We sent it to his office in Illinois when he was running for president. I'm sure Barry has great memories of Indonesia."

Barack Obama's life in Indonesia

Barack Obama's class picture at the Besuki Menteng public school in Jakarta, in 1970.
The courtyard of the Besuki Menteng school. A small moque was built in it, but it didn't exist when Barack Obama was a pupil there.
Barack Obama's former classmates took a picture of themselves in front of the school in March 2008.


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Barrack Obama was otherwise called Barry by his classmates. He was a good pupil and was the scout captain. He adapted to the new environment.

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Childhood days of Obama

I was amazed by the fact that Barack Obama spent his childhood days in Indonesia. He was good in adapting to the new place.

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Really his childhood is realistic one he is from other place & make himself as a president of America. That is why it is said nothing is impossible.


Who really cares what his religion is? Obama is a bright man who obviously had bright parents.Sometimes It does not matter what you have studied or where you have studied it matters how u studied. Which is so true!I respect him and his pleasant memories.

Barry very un-american

Don't know about the claims that he's Muslim. I think those claims obscure the obvious - he seems to be at war with everything I regard to be American: individualism, freedom (from the group's grope), government limited to defense / courts / police, capitalism, and rational self-interest. For all of his supposed constitutional wisdom, he's happy to conveniently interpret it to expand the government (and close in on the individual) or just otherwise ignore it. In short, little Barry has grown into a big statist.

Obama's Dream not American

A statist is someone that practices giving centralized government control over economic planning and policy and I would say you are correct that Obama is a statist. It seems that Obama's dream is not the same as what I consider the American dream. America is a very special place that gave birth to the individual having a right to his or her own life without the authority of a king or ruler making demands upon them. A place that gives everyone the freedom to succeed or fail on their on terms as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. A place that doesn't force all of us to be your brother's keeper but instead frees each one of us with the hopes of becoming a proud independent individual.

The American Dream is antiquated

Well, human being is always in the trial and error cycle. Perhaps, the concepts advocated by the American Dream were appropriate and functional at the time it was conceived; however, given the consequences of the American Dream, as listed below, we need to change the course and adapt to the realities of today’s world:

1- Horrible Healthcare system. Based on the American Dream, you are on your own, regardless of your financial situation. If you are born from a poor family, it is your fault, even though you did not have any role in choosing who to be born from. Obviously, if there is no universal healthcare available to everyone regardless of his financial situation, it is most likely that the individual will have poor health during childhood and as an adult. As a consequence of the American Dream in the healthcare area, I shall state that the U.S is just above El Salvador in terms of infant mortality rate. Is it not a shame for the richest country in the world? You judge.

2- Terrible Education System. U.S. is amongst the lowest ranking countries in the world when it comes to education. In fact, it is at the bottom of the list compared to the other industrial countries. Why? Well, again, because of following the American Dream. In this scheme, the rich can afford to send their children to private schools, where high standards of education are practiced, while the poor can send their children to public schools only, where the standards are much lower, and the schools are dealing and struggling with such embarrassing and shameful and trivial matters such as keeping their teachers due to budget problems, poor building maintenance, violence, etc. that contribute to the decline of morale and interest among the students for pursuing education.

3- Economic Crises. In the American Dream, businesses and corporations are unleashed, and they are free to do anything they wish to increase the profit at any cost; even if it requires laying off people, shifting jobs to overseas countries, and engaging in scandalous business dealings, and ultimately bringing the economy to the brink of its collapse; all due to their greed. The 2008 financial started where? In the U.S. It was the result of greed by the bankers, who, ill-intentionally and with the sole objective of profit at any cost, were buying and selling mortgages and other financial instruments that could not even be described in English (i.e., they were so complicated in nature that only few people could understand them). The banks would provide variable-rate mortgage with zero down payment, knowingly that majority of the mortgagees will not be able to afford paying the mortgage just a few month later, let alone over the next few years.

I am certain there are more reasons than mentioned above to prove that the American Dream is an antiquated and failed concept for the modern-day world, where countries are so interconnected that the failure of one would affect others severely.

In summary, certain concepts were perhaps appropriate at the time they were introduced; however, we should be adaptable, and accept that some of them are not sustainable due to the fact that the world situation changes, while these concepts are based on some assumptions that become obsolete over time.

The American dream may be

The American dream may be antiquated but just because a concept is old does not make it invalid. Each of us in order to survive must have the freedom to pursue our productive work in order to stay alive. The great American experiment of valuing and respecting the individuals right to pursue there own survival without interference from government is what finally unleashed mankind and made this country so rich and powerful. You blame the American dream for all of our problems today but in actual fact it has been eroding for a long time. The government has become more and more intrusive into all of our lives. Starting back in the early 1900's with the anti-trust laws was the beginning of interfering with the free market system. Our country is already a mixed economy and heading for all out socialism with state controlling all aspects of our lives. I am holding on the American dream because I think it is the only
proper moral system that enables every person to have a rich and fulfilling life.