SBY angry at napping kids on National Children Day
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On National Children’s Day most children should have every reason to celebrate.
But instead of a party, some children taking part in this year’s events had to be scolded by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for dozing off while he was delivering his speech yesterday.
Yudhoyono stopped his speech to wake up a number of children who had fallen asleep after they were apparently at a loss over his verbose and English-peppered sentences.
“We have the obligation to fulfill our children’s rights [pause]. Could you please help wake up those who are sleeping over there. I see one or two who are sleepy. Alright, now please listen to me again,”
Yudhoyono said from the lectern inside the Keong Mas IMAX Theater at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah.
As one member of the event’s organizing committee woke up the guilty parties, other children in the audience, who appeared confused by the speech, stopped their conversations.
After making sure that all eyes were on him, Yudhoyono continued his speech, making new promises that government would increase the quality of education and health services for children in the country.
“The government will provide more room for innovative programs that can raise our children’s intelligence, fitness and well-being,” he added.
More than 500 people had flocked the venue, most of whom were below the age of 12.
Celebrations for this year’s National Children’s Day, which fell on July 23, had been postponed due to Yudhoyono’s hectic schedule.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “Unite to Create a Child-Friendly Indonesia”.
Some of the children could be forgiven for dozing off while the President gave his speech because they had been at the venue since 6 a.m.
The President and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono arrived three and a half hours later.
Once he arrived, Yudhoyono decided to read his 15-minute speech from a teleprompter, the same way he makes all his formal addresses to the nation.
It did not help that Yudhoyono used complex language and at times seemed determined to insert English into his sentences, which included words like “golden age”, “culture shock” and “child security”.
He also uttered a complete sentence in English: “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”
One of the children in the audience shook her head when asked if she understood her president’s speech.
“But I am happy because I could meet our leader,” she said.
The event also saw performances from children hailing from the country’s 33 provinces, such as plays and traditional dances.
Yudhoyono’s speech added to the list of negative experiences that children have undergone at previous National Children’s Days.
During 2010’s celebration, a boy identified as CL was allegedly struck on the head by a presidential security guard.
Then in 2011, child participants were disappointed after the committee decided to drop a plan for them to read out a summary of results from the Indonesian Children Congress in front of the president.
In 2008, Yudhoyono also made similar gesture when a regional leader dozed off during a leadership workshop at the National Resilience Institute.
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