Meet 'The Menteng Kid' (aka Obama)

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The Independent Online

An Indonesian film giving a fictionalised account of Barack Obama's time in the country as a child was premiered yesterday in Jakarta.

Obama Anak Menteng (Obama The Menteng Kid) is named after the area where the future president and his mother lived in Jakarta with his Indonesian stepfather between 1967 and 1971. It is based on the book of the same name by Damien Dematra, the film's co-director, who met people who knew Mr Obama while writing it.

"Westerners will see a different world," Mr Dematra told the Agence France-Presse. "They'll see Obama eating chicken satay, not hamburgers. They'll see his friends in check sarongs and Muslim caps."

In the film, the future president is shown learning to box. "When Obama arrived, local kids rejected him," said Mr Dematra. "Obama was bullied and he had to fight. He fought and he won and then they accepted him."

One scene that hasn't made it featured Mr Obama reciting from the Koran. "He was just imitating other kids when they were praying," said Mr Dematra. "That scene wasn't shot because I didn't want people to take it out of context and use it against him."

Shot in West Java, the lead role is played by 14-year-old Hasan Faruq Ali, an American who moved to the country as a child. "I'd like it if [Mr Obama] watched the film," he said.

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