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Jakarta Post

Creed of modesty at every turn in future 1st family

  • Hasyim Widhiarto, Kusumari Ayuningtyas and Sita W. Dewi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta/Surakarta   /   Fri, June 27, 2014   /  09:26 am
Creed of modesty at every turn in future 1st family Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Iriana: (JP/Wendra Ajisetyatama)" border="0" height="433" width="498">Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Iriana: (JP/Wendra Ajisetyatama)

Kahiyang Ayu, 23, the only daughter of presidential frontrunner and non-active Jakarta governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, has all the privileges of receiving the best medical services Jakarta can offer.

But she will not allow herself to fall into indulging in such benefits.

As recalled by one of Jokowi’s personal assistants, Kahiyang recently hurt her hand badly and required a thorough medical examination.

“As a member of the governor’s family, she could have received a first class health checkup so I took her to a top-notch hospital in Jakarta, but she declined,” said the assistant, who demanded anonymity.

“Kahiyang later went to a Puskesmas [community health center] in Menteng, Central Jakarta, where she patiently waited in line and paid Rp 3,000 (25 US cents) for the registration. I didn’t tell the Menteng district chief about her presence, but somehow the chief found out and ordered the puskesmas head to directly handle her.”

The chief, according to the assistant, was aware of her identity because she had accidentally used a car bearing the registration number of the governor’s office.

“Kahiyang felt bad about it. She said ‘my father is the governor, not me’,” the assistant said.

Jokowi and his family have been raised to believe that modesty is of paramount importance, an ideal that is lacking largely among high-ranking public officials who tend to provide their family members with luxuries and privileges.

Kahiyang Ayu (left) and Kaesang Pangarep: (Kompas.com)Kahiyang Ayu (left) and Kaesang Pangarep: (Kompas.com)
Jokowi’s wife Iriana is never seen wearing or carrying branded items. Her dresses are mostly purchased in Tanah Abang, Southeast Asia’s largest textile and clothing market.

While the spouses of most public officials are accustomed to attending social gatherings and product launches, Iriana firmly keeps her distance.

“We’re just letting everything flow naturally. There’s nothing special about us,” said Iriana when asked about her family’s humility.

Iriana, who claimed that Jokowi was not a romantic person, said the family spent their free time in their own way.

While she refused to go into details, the youngest child Kaesang Pangarep, 17, noted the family’s penchant for going to the cinema.

“He [Jokowi] sometimes takes us to the movies. We love to watch Indonesian comedies,” said Kaesang.

According to Kaesang, the humility of the family has been forged by Jokowi, who has always lead by example.

“You know him, he’s just like that. I see him like how other people see him. He hardly gives his children specific advice. He leads by example,” he said.

While Jokowi and Iriana, typical middle-class parents, may shun excessive lifestyles, this may not apply when it comes to selecting the best schools for their children.

Gibran Rakabumi: (JP/Hasyim Widiarto)

Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo and Iriana: (JP/Wendra Ajisetyatama)

Kahiyang Ayu, 23, the only daughter of presidential frontrunner and non-active Jakarta governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo, has all the privileges of receiving the best medical services Jakarta can offer.

But she will not allow herself to fall into indulging in such benefits.

As recalled by one of Jokowi'€™s personal assistants, Kahiyang recently hurt her hand badly and required a thorough medical examination.

'€œAs a member of the governor'€™s family, she could have received a first class health checkup so I took her to a top-notch hospital in Jakarta, but she declined,'€ said the assistant, who demanded anonymity.

'€œKahiyang later went to a Puskesmas [community health center] in Menteng, Central Jakarta, where she patiently waited in line and paid Rp 3,000 (25 US cents) for the registration. I didn'€™t tell the Menteng district chief about her presence, but somehow the chief found out and ordered the puskesmas head to directly handle her.'€

The chief, according to the assistant, was aware of her identity because she had accidentally used a car bearing the registration number of the governor'€™s office.

'€œKahiyang felt bad about it. She said '€˜my father is the governor, not me'€™,'€ the assistant said.

Jokowi and his family have been raised to believe that modesty is of paramount importance, an ideal that is lacking largely among high-ranking public officials who tend to provide their family members with luxuries and privileges.

Kahiyang Ayu (left) and Kaesang Pangarep: (Kompas.com)Kahiyang Ayu (left) and Kaesang Pangarep: (Kompas.com)
Jokowi'€™s wife Iriana is never seen wearing or carrying branded items. Her dresses are mostly purchased in Tanah Abang, Southeast Asia'€™s largest textile and clothing market.

While the spouses of most public officials are accustomed to attending social gatherings and product launches, Iriana firmly keeps her distance.

'€œWe'€™re just letting everything flow naturally. There'€™s nothing special about us,'€ said Iriana when asked about her family'€™s humility.

Iriana, who claimed that Jokowi was not a romantic person, said the family spent their free time in their own way.

While she refused to go into details, the youngest child Kaesang Pangarep, 17, noted the family'€™s penchant for going to the cinema.

'€œHe [Jokowi] sometimes takes us to the movies. We love to watch Indonesian comedies,'€ said Kaesang.

According to Kaesang, the humility of the family has been forged by Jokowi, who has always lead by example.

'€œYou know him, he'€™s just like that. I see him like how other people see him. He hardly gives his children specific advice. He leads by example,'€ he said.

While Jokowi and Iriana, typical middle-class parents, may shun excessive lifestyles, this may not apply when it comes to selecting the best schools for their children.

Gibran Rakabumi: (JP/Hasyim Widiarto)Gibran Rakabumi: (JP/Hasyim Widiarto)
From the profits earned as a noted furniture businessman in Surakarta, Central Java, Jokowi could afford to send his eldest son Gibran Rakabuming Raka, 26, to Orchid Park Secondary School in Singapore.

After graduating, Gibran enrolled in the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, for his business diploma before taking his full undergraduate degree in marketing at the Management Development Institute of Singapore.

Now, Gibran is a successful catering businessman in Surakarta, independently making his way up and refusing to take the easy route of continuing the family'€™s furniture business or taking a shot in politics.

Probably out of security concerns, Jokowi'€™s second child Kahiyang completed her undergraduate degree in food technology at state-run Sebelas Maret University (UNS) in Surakarta.

Kaesang, meanwhile, spent his high school years in Singapore, but unlike the eldest brother, he was keen to continue the family'€™s furniture business.

'€œHe never guided me to follow his steps as long as I had a good plan. I may follow his path to continue the furniture business but not in politics,'€ said Kaesang.

Politics, however, does not run in the family.

Born in Surakarta 53 years ago, Jokowi is the eldest of four and the only son of native Javanese Noto Miharjo and wife Sujiatmi.

Noto'€™s father, Wiryomiharjo, was a bureaucrat who was the subdistrict head of Kragan village in Karanganyar, Central Java, while Sujiatmi'€™s father, Wirorejo, worked as a small-scale carpenter.

After graduating from Gadjah Mada University'€™s forestry school in Yogyakarta in 1985, Jokowi had yet to realize his potential in business.

As a fresh graduate, Jokowi spent two years working at state-owned paper producer PT Kertas Kraft Aceh in Aceh.

Not long after his marriage, Jokowi returned to Surakarta to work briefly for Roda Jati, a furniture firm owned by his mother'€™s elder brother Miyono.

Miyono, who became one of Jokowi'€™s early business mentors, said he maintained a close relationship with his nephew although Jokowi had decided to set up his own company in the late 1980s.

Furniture maker PT Rakabu was set up through Rp 65 million in loans from his mother.

In a recent interview, Gibran told The Jakarta Post that his father'€™s businesses were now run by, among others, his aunts'€™ husbands following Jokowi'€™s involvement in politics.

Jokowi, the eldest child, has three sisters '€” Iit Sriyantini, Ida Yati and Titik Relawati.

Jokowi'€™s decision to keep his closest family members away from the public eye has inevitably made him vulnerable to various forms of smear campaigns.

His political opponents, for example, have repeatedly accused him of hiding his Christian and Chinese backgrounds.

Indonesia has the world'€™s biggest Muslim population and the Javanese ethnic group accounts for around 60 percent of the total population.

Miyono was quick to deny such allegations, saying Jokowi and his parents had already performed the haj pilgrimage, a compulsory ritual for Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey to Mecca.

'€œWe also have no Chinese ancestry in our family,'€ he said.

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