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Indonesian classmates elated over victory

world Updated: Nov 06, 2008 00:38 IST

Barack Obama's former classmates in Indonesia, where he spent part of his childhood, reacted with joy as the boy who stood by their side in the school yearbook years ago was elected as the first black US President.

“I remember in the class book, all students were writing down their goals and wishes. Some said they wanted to be lawyers, soldiers, pilot and doctors, but he was the one who said he wanted to be president,” said Dewi Asmara, a former classmate. “We never understood what was on his mind that day,” he added.

Cheering his victory at a gathering of about 200 Indonesians and Americans, Obama’s classmates said they were delighted with his win because they felt a special emotional connection with the Democrat who spent four years in Indonesia.

“For the people of Indonesia there is a sentimental feeling. There’s a special bonding that we have,” said Asmara, as a shower of red, white and blue balloons dropped from a hotel ballroom where the US embassy held an election event.

Obama spent four years in Indonesia after his American mother, Ann Dunham, married Muslim Indonesian Lolo Soetoro following the end of her marriage to Obama’s Kenyan father.

“We are proud and happy, in the past one-and-a-half years we have been defending him from all the false allegations and black campaigns about his past in Indonesia. And now we can see the results today,” said another former classmate, Rully Dasaad.