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The Jakarta Post
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Jokowi attends Christmas celebration, calls for unity

  • Djemi Amnifu

    The Jakarta Post

Kupang | Tue, December 29, 2015 | 03:07 pm
Jokowi attends Christmas celebration, calls for unity Religious harmony: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and First Lady Iriana, accompanied by Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin (far left) and his wife Trisna Willy (wearing hijab), pose for a photograph with orphans during a Christmas celebration in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on Monday. Thousands of residents applauded Jokowi, since it was the first time for them to celebrate Christmas with the President in the predominantly Catholic province.(JP/Djemi Amnifu) (far left) and his wife Trisna Willy (wearing hijab), pose for a photograph with orphans during a Christmas celebration in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on Monday. Thousands of residents applauded Jokowi, since it was the first time for them to celebrate Christmas with the President in the predominantly Catholic province.(JP/Djemi Amnifu)

Religious harmony: President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo and First Lady Iriana, accompanied by Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin (far left) and his wife Trisna Willy (wearing hijab), pose for a photograph with orphans during a Christmas celebration in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on Monday. Thousands of residents applauded Jokowi, since it was the first time for them to celebrate Christmas with the President in the predominantly Catholic province.(JP/Djemi Amnifu)

President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo and First Lady Iriana on Monday attended the 2015 National Christmas Celebration in the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) provincial capital of Kupang city, held at the gubernatorial residence.

Jokowi began his speech in the local dialect to the applause of thousands of attendees.

'€œLu [you] pung kabar karmana? [How are you?] Bae-bae sa [fine]. Kitong semua basaudara [we are all brothers and sisters],'€ said Jokowo, who revealed that he learned the dialect in a night in Kupang.

This year'€™s Christmas celebration in Kupang, NTT, reminded people of the meaning of family, which was not restricted to the core family unit of father, mother and children, the President said.

'€œAs a family, we live on Indonesian soil. Christmas reminds us of living as a family. We have a responsibility to make our lives better through mutual help,'€ said Jokowi.

The nation, he added, should be grateful for being able to celebrate Christmas as a family in the spirit of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), as the country'€™s founding fathers vowed for a single country, nation and language, but not a single religion.

Therefore, said Jokowi, the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika spirit should be preserved to realize the nation'€™s goals as a prosperous, fair and sovereign Indonesia, which continued to reverberate in the hearts of the entire nation.

'€œCelebrating Christmas means changing the way we think, act and communicate with one another in the spirit of Pancasila [state ideology]. Pancasila must serve as a national guide in carrying out faith, hope and God'€™s devotion,'€ he said.

Celebrating Christmas, said Jokowi, was part of carrying out a mental revolution because the essence of a mental character revolution was to become a new person. '€œA changed person who is more productive, optimistic, disciplined and hardworking,'€ he pointed out.

It was time, he said, for the nation to move forward and leave behind a culture that was full of falsehood, hypocrisy and selfishness.

'€œChristmas should bring a spirit of humility, simplicity and dare to say enough, as well as the spirit of sharing, not squandering money, and narrowing the gap between the rich and poor,'€ he explained.

He added that he had visited NTT three times and that on account of the water shortage faced by the province, the government would build seven dams there to meet water demand for agriculture, including livestock.

'€œMerry Christmas 2015 and Happy New Year 2016. Good evening. Till we meet again. Thank You.'€ said Jokowi.

Earlier, Jokowi laid the corner stone for the commencement of the Rotiklot Dam project in Belu regency, NTT.

Jokowi, who was accompanied by State Secretary Pratikno, Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nutmantyo, National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti, Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimoeljono and NTT Governor Frans Lebu Raya, also inspected Motaain, a border area that will become an integrated border-crossing station.

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