The US election has been quite a big topic of conversation here in Indonesia! Ever since I arrived here it has been one of the primary things I’m asked about whenever I meet new people. Indonesians seem to be very interested in both sides of the election, though I must say the majority of the people here stand behind President Obama who people in Jakarta consider as family because he lived here for several years. The Indonesian people are great like that; people who live in Indonesia for any period of time quickly become part of the cultural familial bond. On the day of the election I was invited to attend an event that the US Embassy was hosting in downtown Jakarta to watch the election results as well as invite Indonesians to learn about the US election process. Due to the 12 hour or so time difference the event started at 8:00 AM, meaning that we had to get up at about 5.00 to be able to travel the 25 kilometres from Depok to Downtown Jakarta in time. Needless to say, in Jakarta there is always traffic, especially in the morning. After our long winding journey through the streets of Jakarta and a few minutes of being lost in the vastness that is the Grand Indonesia Mall we finally arrived at our destination! The first steps into the room though what may be the largest doors I have ever seen were rather overwhelming! There were large projector screens streaming live feed from New in the US and Poll results from online, a myriad of booths set up with information about the election as well as the US Electoral system in general, large buffets of truly American breakfast food and a sea of people milling about it all! We were soon greeted by AFS volunteers and staff in attendance and I was informed I would be helping in a booth to explain about the US voting process to people and help manage the mock vote we were having. It was a wonderful time explaining the process and I got to talk to a huge amount of varied people from Professors, Students, Press, Embassy staff, Businessmen, and everyone else in between. The atmosphere in the room was very vibrant and excited and there was much multilingual discussion about how the results of the states would turn out, as there was no real mystery as to how our mock vote would. Aside from our splendid little election there were many other goings on including a speech from Ambassador Marciel and a live stream from a reporter in the US. After his speech I was able to meet Ambassador Marciel and a few other embassy officials and have a brief conversation about Indonesia and YES. As is usual with Embassy staff and just the general populace of Indonesia all were extremely welcoming and very interesting to talk with! As the morning boiled on more and more results came in and there was a good deal of excitement. When the west coast’s polls closed and the results finally arrived there was much cheering and activity and even a balloon drop! It was indeed one of the most amazing events I have ever been to, and it definitely made my first actual presidential election one that I will always remember.
|Everyone Partying it up Election Style!|
|Us with Ambassador Marciel and a few other fun folk!|