Most people who follow US politics know that President Barack Obama studied in Indonesia in his youth, but few would know that Emirsyah Satar sat next to him in class at Jakarta’s St Francis Assisi School.
“When he was elected, some friends from the school reminded me. It was towards the end of the term for about two to three months. He had just arrived and did not know Bahasa Indonesia, so the teacher put me next to him as I knew English and could translate. I was only seven or eight then, and I totally forgot until I was reminded.”
There has been speculation Satar could enter politics in Indonesia, given the country’s parties are always looking for capable technocrats as possible candidates. The man himself is coy. “I’m not a politician. Put it this way, I see things very simply. Whatever I can contribute, if I am capable, I will. I’ve never been asked, so how can I say if I will join.”