Young Jokowi as Depicted by His Teacher: His Handwriting was Ugly but Neat

Unlike Prabowo, Jokowi didn’t go to Western schools.Between 1966 and 1968, when 15-17 years old, Prabowo stayed in London, where he attended The American School. That explains a lot why Prabowo speaks English more fluently. He got exposed to Western culture from his early life. He even moved from one country to another in Europe, following his father Sumitro Dojojohadikusumo, an Indonesian economist. Meanwhile, Joko Widodo was one of millions of Indonesian children in 1960’s, who went to local public schools.

As told by local newspaper Tribun Jateng (31/7), Jokowi was described as a student showing shrewdness and shyness. Following his graduation from local public elementary school Sekolah Dasar Negeri 111 Tirtoyoso Solo, he went to SMPN 1 Solo. This junior high school now has been gaining its fame as favorite and the have’s school. Yet, back then it wasn’t.

According to Tribun Jateng, Jokowi was known as a humble, modest student . His biology teacher Siti Noeryati confirmed that the chosen president has always shown a humble life style even since his youth days. “Jokowi was really modest and up to now nothing has changed. He wore the same clothes just like what his friends did at the time,”she added. Jokowi preferred going home on foot and occasionally by bike to car, Siti told Tribun Jateng.

Siti identified Jokowi’s tendency toward details and familiarity with grassroots and the marginalized. When Siti drew a picture of biology chart, our young Jokowi drew it just like what was shown on the blackboard. “Jokowi treated anyone politely. He even greeted a man whose job was to sweep the backyard (of the school – writer).” But he seldom appeared too lively and talkative. As Siti put it, Jokowi looked really serious when in the classroom. She
elaborated,”Especially when I taught him environmental ecosystem, I just felt he mastered it well. As I asked him, he answered,’Oh, this is the role of producer and consumer. He knew well the balance of nature.'”

Siti commented on the neatness of Jokowi’s handwriting. She used to make students collect their notebooks and to check them all. Jokowi’s handwriting, as Siti recalled, was not as good but still it looked neat. He underlined lines of greater importance, which also made it easier to memorize as examinations approached.

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