PrestoPundit

BARACK OBAMA’S FIRST GRADE TEACHER

Posted by PrestoPundit on 08/15/2008

remembers “Barry Soetoro”, a natural born leader:

Israella Darmawan
is every inch a teacher, from her shiny cap of black hair to her
sensible shoes. In an office at the

Fransiskus
Assisi
School,
she shows me an old register with an entry for Barry Soetoro, as
Barack Obama was know then. Bu Is taught Obama in the first grade. She
admits she doesn’t remember all her students well, but Barry … well,
he stood out.

 “He really was
different from the others. He was tall and heavy, black skin, curly
hair.”

Obama struggled
with Indonesian, she says, but he was clearly a bright kid, especially
at math. He had natural leadership qualities, she adds; other kids
followed him around during playtime.  “Barack ran somewhere, they
went. He ran somewhere else, they followed.”

And his childhood friends remember a boy with a head of iron:

Yunaldi was
telling the truth; he did have family obligations. He’s hanging out
with his brothers, just like he did when he was a kid. They all
remember Obama. Soon I’m sitting on the floor with them, listening to
stories of childhood adventures.

Jl. Haji Ramli
really has changed. Back then it was just a dirt road. The
neighborhood kids played soccer and staged swordfights with bamboo in
the middle of the street. They also staged fistfights, pitting boys
of similar size against each other. Johnny Askiar’s voice is still
filled with wonder as he recalls the feeling of hitting Obama’s skull.

 “Barry’s head was
really hard,” he says.  “My hand would hurt when I hit it. It was like
iron, that head.”

A useful quality
in a president, perhaps?

The Askiars speak
about Obama with what feels like genuine fondness, but as kids they
weren’t above taking advantage of his status as an outsider.
“Sometimes we’d say, ‘Barry, do you want a chocolate?’ And we’d give
him a chocolate. The next day we’d give him a chocolate again. The
third time we’d give him terasi (fermented shrimp paste)
wrapped up like chocolate,” remembers Harmon Askiar.

Obama didn’t get
mad, they say. He would laugh it off.

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