President Jokowi receives welcome fit for a star

This article is more than 12 months old

A long queue formed outside the Indonesian embassy in Chatsworth Road on Wednesday (Sept 6) afternoon, as Indonesians working here waited to catch a glimpse of their President.

President Joko Widodo is in Singapore for a Leaders' Retreat with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as Singapore and Indonesia mark 50 years of bilateral ties.

The two leaders will also witness a historic fly-past by fighter jets from both countries on Thursday, forming the numeral 50 to mark the golden jubilee.

About 1,800 Indonesians turned up at the Indonesian embassy. Spirits were high as attendees danced while waiting for the arrival of Mr Joko, popularly known as Jokowi.

The crowd was made up of mostly domestic workers like Ms Triningsih, 43, who had asked for time off from her employer to attend the event.

"I was so excited that I haven't been able to sleep or eat since yesterday," she told The Straits Times.

She began queueing at 3pm and waited for about two hours before she could get into the embassy grounds.

Domestic helper Elina Harmawati, 30, was dressed in a Papuan costume originating from eastern Indonesia, which she borrowed from a friend.

She said she likes President Joko very much as he is from the same hometown as her, adding that he is someone who is humble and does not mind mingling with poor people.

"He would get off the car to shake hands with them," she said.

Ms Marta Solikadi, 28, who has been a domestic helper for five years, was happy to be at the event as it was an opportunity for her to see the President and also meet all her friends.

"Jokowi is a good President and I have been very excited to meet him. I woke up at 4am today because I could not sleep any more," she said.