Indonesian Neighbors Used to Call Chubby Young Obama ‘the Boy Who Runs Like a Duck’

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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Maybe there's another reason besides volcanic ash that Obama is cutting his trip to Indonesia short. Among the handful of eye-opening tidbits that emerged when the Times talked to locals about the boy they once knew as Barry — such as the fact that his former nanny later joined a transvestite group called Fantastic Dolls, who, as per Jakarta custom, entertained people by dancing and playing volleyball (volleyball?) in the street — is that young Barry was a sort of amateur Vizzini.


One time, recalled the elder son, Slamet Januadi, now 52, Mr. Obama asked a group of boys whether they wanted to grow up to be president, a soldier or a businessman. A president would own nothing while a soldier would possess weapons and a businessmen would have money, the young Obama explained.
Mr. Januadi and his younger brother, both of whom later joined the Indonesian military, said they wanted to become soldiers. Another boy, a future banker, said he would become a businessman.
“Then Barry said he would become president and order the soldier to guard him and the businessman to use his money to build him something,” Mr. Januadi said. “We told him, ‘You cheated. You didn’t give us those details.’ ”
“But we all became what we said we would,” he said.

Maybe if the president had used a little of that rhetorical chicanery to sell his policies to the public, we wouldn't be so familiar with the word "shellacking."

Obama Visits a Nation That Knew Him as Barry [NYT]