Parade {Indonesian Presidential Inauguration at Bundaran HI)


It was a pretty remarkable day in Indonesia. A new president was sworn in today, which is remarkable in and of itself. But this country, with a long history of plunder committed by colonials and pillage by it's own powerful and monied classes, this country has never been led by a populist leader. This country, until now, has never really dreamt the possibility of being governed by the interests of ordinary people.

Indonesia is wonderful. But the politics of this place? Corrupt, drenched in money and ill-gotten gains.

President, Joko Widodo (widely known as Jokowi) was born the son of a furniture maker. He grew up in bamboo house.  He was not a son of money, nor a golden boy of the army. He made his own way. He worked hard, became the mayor of a mid-sized city, governor of Jakarta, and now, president.

It's a story right out of the American Dream, only in Indonesia, where fulfilling that dream is even more significant, and unlikely.

I feel buoyed by this win, this change in political tide. And I wanted to be out there, to be a part of it. So we took the kids out into the street to watch as the inauguration parade passed by us. 

Stella was a bit reluctant at first. "I don't like The Jokowi!" I'm pretty sure she imagined this character to be a friend of the Ondel-ondel. It was blisteringly hot outside, but everyone was in a great mood, dancing, waving flags, shaking hands. 

Unfortunately we didn't last to see the presidential convoy pass by. It got delayed by traffic. Which is so Jakarta. But we did watch from our hallway window as the crowd of Indonesians unfurled a gigantic red and white flag, and cheered their new president as he passed by in a humble horse-drawn cart.

What an amazing day for this country.