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Statue of young Obama unveiled in Indonesia

By Kathy Quiano
CNN
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Statue to honor Obama
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. President Barack Obama lived in Indonesia for four years in the 1960s
  • Bronze statue cost about $10,000 and shows Obama as a young boy
  • Students eagerly awaited chance to have photos taken in front of statue
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Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- Indonesians have paid tribute to Barack Obama on the eve of his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize.

A statue of the U.S. President, who lived in Jakarta, has been unveiled in a park in the Indonesian capital.

The almost life-size statue depicts a 10-year-old Obama, wearing school-boy shorts with his outstretched hand holding up a butterfly.

The U.S. president was born in Hawaii and lived in Indonesia for four years in the 1960s with his mother and Indonesian stepfather.

The young Obama, who once studied and played in this neighborhood, was known to many then as "Barry."

"We imagined Barry, and we thought the story would be inspirational to all Indonesian children that when you dream big, they can come true," said Ron Mullers, chairman of the nonprofit group Friends of Obama.

Mullers, a Hawaii native and long-time resident of Indonesia adds, "We thought wouldn't it be great to have a statue of him here as a child, not as president, but as a child, as an inspiration to the Indonesian people."

It was shown to the public Wednesday in a colorful ceremony where children from nearby schools played music and performed a traditional dance.

After the unveiling, a group of grade school students eagerly awaited their chance to have photos taken in front of Obama's statue.

The bronze statue cost about $10,000 and was paid for by eight Indonesian patrons, a private television station and a charity that helps the urban poor.

It is in a park near one of the Indonesian schools Obama attended as a child. "I'm proud because he used to study in Indonesia, and now he's the 44th president of America," said Hendrawan, a sixth-grader who wants to be a lawyer.