Obama statue to be moved to Indonesia school yard

Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:21pm EST
 
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By Telly Nathalia

JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) - A statue of Barack Obama that was torn down from a public park in Indonesia will be relocated to the president's former school in Jakarta, a school official said on Sunday.

Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Jakarta and is due to visit Indonesia in March, was initially welcomed by locals almost as a long-lost son but his appeal has waned in recent months.

A statue of the president as a 10-year-old boy was installed in central Jakarta's Menteng Park in December 2009 but was recently removed by authorities after a campaign by locals, who argued that Obama has done little to deserve the tribute.

Akhmad Solikhin, deputy headmaster of Obama's former primary school, State Elementary School 01 Menteng, said the statue was removed from Menteng Park on Feb 14 and would be installed on the school grounds on Sunday night or early next week.

"It is better if the statue can be placed here, so it will be an inspiration and motivation for students to reach their dreams, like Obama," he told Reuters by phone.

"We will place it in the front yard."

The mayor of central Jakarta, Sylviana Murni, told Reuters that council officials were helping facilitate the relocation of the statue.

(Writing by Sunanda Creagh; Editing by Nick Macfie)

 
<p>A statue of U.S. President Barack Obama as a 10-year-old stands in Menteng park in central Jakarta January 27, 2010. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni</p>