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Delegates and heads of governments from all around the world have been occupied in Singapore with the ongoings of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, but Indonesian president Joko Widodo made sure to set aside some time yesterday to sample some familiar dishes from back home.
And where did the 57-year-old Metalhead Of State go to? Why, Orchard Road’s Lucky Plaza of course, the haven in town for proper Indonesian and Filipino cuisine. Accompanied by a large entourage, the president — sporting a pretty flashy red jacket — made his way from the entrance of the mall and straight to Bebek Goreng Pak Ndut, a fried duck joint on the ground floor. Naturally, his presence attracted a crowd and the man was gracious enough to grant a couple of selfies with fans on the way to lunch.
On Twitter, Jokowi also did a shoutout to the array of Indonesian eateries available here.
“Went all the way to Singapore, I still ate at an Indonesian restaurant. Today, I had lunch at Bebek Goreng Pak Ndut restaurant in Lucky Plaza, Orchard Road,” he said.
“In Singapore, there’s also Bebek Tepi Sawah, Sari Ratu and even Garuda restaurants,” he mentioned, referring to the popular restaurant chains in Indonesia.
“Unfortunately there’s no Sang Pisang yet,” Jokowi cheekily noted — alluding to the banana fritter chain belonging to his youngest son, who attended the lunch as well.
Noticing an assembly of Indonesians watching them eat from outside, the president waved in a couple of them into the restaurant to have lunch together.
“I’m so happy, I never expected this. I’m so fortunate” said one of the ladies who was invited in for lunch. The other was so overwhelmed that she teared up.
When asked what they and Jokowi talked about, they noted that they couldn’t even do so because they were speechless. The two, employees of hotels nearby, mentioned that they didn’t even know that he was in town and that they just happened to be in the mall when Jokowi arrived.
“We can’t believe it. All this time we only saw him on TV and on the internet. Now we can see him directly.”
Earlier today during the summit, Jokowi used his speech to call for fellow ASEAN members to help out in the humanitarian crisis involving the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Tempo.co reported about the president affirming Indonesia’s readiness to play its role in helping the Myanmar government in creating a peaceful environment in the Rakhine state.
Yesterday, Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamed wasn’t as gentle in his words as he expressed disappointment in Aung San Suu Kyi’s response to the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.
“Someone who has been detained before should know the sufferings and should not inflict it on the hapless,” Mahathir told reporters in a reference to Suu Kyi’s long years of house arrest under Myanmar’s military junta.
“But it would seem that Aung San Sui Kyi is trying to defend what is indefensible,” he added.
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