Saturday, November 11, 2006

Give him fried rice

The US midterms have gotten pretty big coverage here; they were front page news in most papers, including the fancypants Kompas.

"Republican reign ends"

The blue-collar Warta Kota was less interested in the election and more interested in complaining about Bush's impending visit to Bogor, just outside Jakarta. The security is going to be pretty crazy: they're shutting down public minivan routes, blocking cellphone networks, and flooding the city with police. Most appallingly, they're digging up part of the Bogor Botanical Garden, one of Greater Jakarta's rare and precious parks, to install a helipad. There are estimates that the ten-hour visit will cost more than $100,000 per hour.

Below: "Give him Nasi Goreng, ask him to go home"

Warta Kota ran the cheeky remarks of former parliamentary head Amien Rais saying Indonesia shouldn't make such a big deal over Bush.

"Meet him respectfully at the airport, make some delicious nasi goreng (fried rice) and coffee, talk about whatever needs to be discussed, and ask him to go home," he says. "He's being snubbed in his own country."

The papers are portraying the vote as a referendum on Iraq, and people here are really happy the tide has turned. The constant refrain we get from taxi drivers is: "We like Americans, we just don't like Bush." I usually tell them I agree. I'd have to say the war has sometimes tested my love for my fellow citizens, though. I'm hoping this is a turning point.

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