Novel explores Obama’s early Catholic education

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

A Muslim writer has told the story of President Barack Obama’s early schooldays in a new novel: Obama Dari Assisi (Obama Of Assisi). The novel is centered on the US president’s years at the St Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Elementary School, Jakarta.

“It is inspired by many stories told by Obama’s close friends, teachers and neighbors,” said author Damien Dematra, who interviewed over 30 people including family members while researching the work.

It depicts the experience of a little boy arriving in Indonesia at the age of six, in 1967. “He had culture shock when he first came. Fortunately, the teachers of St Francis helped him adapt,” Dematra said.

The writer speculates that President Obama’s pluralistic views may well spring from his time in Indonesia. “His socialization with many people and places here are the basics of his openness to pluralism and his dialogue with Islam,” he claims.

‘Little Obama’ was brilliant, disciplined and friendly, Cecelia Sugini, 72, the president’s former teacher, said. Endorsing the book, she said:  “The novel is useful for St Francis students. It will inspire them to study hard to be future leaders, just like Obama has done.”

Dematra also wrote Obama Anak Menteng (Obama’s Childhood In Menteng), which has been adapted into a film with the same title. It is scheduled for release in November, which may coincide with a visit from Obama.

Source: UCAN News

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