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Lolo Soetoro

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Title: Lolo Soetoro  
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Lolo Soetoro

Lolo Soetoro
Lolo Soetoro in 1971
Born (1935-01-02)January 2, 1935
Bandung, West Java, Dutch East Indies
Died March 2, 1987(1987-03-02) (aged 52)
Jakarta, Indonesia
Cause of death Liver failure
Nationality Indonesia
Alma mater Gadjah Mada University
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Occupation Geographer
Governmental relations
Employer Government of Indonesia
Union Oil Company
Religion Sunni Islam
Spouse(s) Ann Dunham (married 1965–1980)
Erna Kustina
Children Maya Kassandra Soetoro-Ng
Yusuf Aji Soetoro
Rahayu Nurmaida Soetoro
Barack Obama (step-son)

Lolo Soetoro, also known as Lolo Soetoro Mangunharjo[1][2] or Mangundikardjo[3] (EYD: Lolo Sutoro) (Javanese: ; January 2, 1935[4] − March 2, 1987), was the Indonesian step-father of Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States.[5]

Early life and education

Born in Bandung, West Java, Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), Soetoro was the ninth of ten children of Martodihardjo, who was employee of mining office from Yogyakarta.[4] Soetoro's father and eldest brother were killed during the Indonesian National Revolution, when Indonesia won independence from the Dutch, and the Dutch army burned the family's home. Soetoro fled with his mother to the countryside.[6]

Soetoro earned his bachelor's degree in geography from Gadjah Mada University, in Yogyakarta.[4] In 1962, Soetoro, then a civilian employee of the Indonesian Army Topographic Service, obtained an East-West Center grant for graduate study in geography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.[7] He arrived in Honolulu in September 1962 and graduated from the university with a M.A. in geography in June 1964.[8]

Marriage to Ann Dunham

After living in Seattle, Washington, with her infant son Barack from September 1961 to June 1962 while taking classes at the University of Washington, Ann Dunham returned to Honolulu and resumed her undergraduate education at the University of Hawaii in January 1963.[9] In January 1964 she filed for divorce[10] from her estranged husband, Barack Obama Sr., who had left Hawaii in June 1962 to pursue graduate study at Harvard University.[11]

Soetoro and Dunham met at the East-West Center while both were students at the University of Hawaii.[10][12][13] Soetoro and Dunham married in Hawaii on March 15, 1965.[13][14] Soetoro, a geographer,[13][15] returned to Indonesia in 1966,[16] to help map Western New Guinea[11] for the Indonesian government, while Dunham and her son moved into her parents' house in Honolulu to complete her studies at the University of Hawaii;[17] she earned a B.A. in anthropology in 1967.[18] Her son attended kindergarten from 1966 to 1967 at Noelani Elementary School in Honolulu.[17][19]

In 1967, Dunham and her six-year-old son moved to Jakarta to rejoin Soetoro.[20] The reunited family initially lived in a new modest stucco and red tile house at 16 Kyai Haji Ramli Tengah Street in a newly built neighborhood in the Menteng Dalam administrative village of the Tebet subdistrict in South Jakarta for two and a half years,[20][21][22] and owned a new Japanese motorcycle.[23] From January 1968 to December 1969, Dunham taught English and was an assistant director of the Lembaga Persahabatan Indonesia Amerika (LIA)–the Indonesia-America Friendship Institute–which was subsidized by U.S. government.[24] Obama attended the Indonesian-language Santo Fransiskus Asisi (St. Francis of Assisi) Catholic School around the corner from their house for 1st, 2nd, and part of 3rd grade.[20][21][22]

In 1970, with his financial situation improved by a new job in government relations[25] at Union Oil Company,[4][11][13] Soetoro moved his family two miles north to a rented house at 22 Taman Amir Hamzah Street in the Matraman Dalam neighborhood in the Pegangsaan administrative village of the Menteng subdistrict in Central Jakarta,[20][22] with a car replacing their motorcycle.[26] From January 1970 to August 1972, Dunham taught English and was a department head and a director of the Lembaga Pendidikan dan Pengembangan Manajemen (LPPM)–the Institute of Management Education and Development.[24] Obama attended the Indonesian-language government-run Besuki School one and a half miles east in the exclusive Menteng administrative village of the Menteng subdistrict for part of 3rd grade and for 4th grade.[20][21][22]

In mid-1970, between 3rd and 4th grades at the Besuki School, Obama spent the summer in Hawaii with his grandparents, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, and interviewed for admission to the Punahou School in Honolulu.[27] On August 15, 1970, Soetoro and Dunham had a daughter, Maya Kassandra Soetoro.[28][29]

In mid-1971, Obama moved back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents and attend Punahou School starting in 5th grade.[30] A year later, in August 1972, Dunham, with the help of her employer (LPPM), obtained an Asia Foundation grant to begin graduate study in anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.[24][31] She and her daughter moved back to Hawaii where they rejoined Obama.[24][31]

Dunham completed her coursework at the University of Hawaii for a M.A. in anthropology in December 1974,[18] and after three years in Hawaii, returned with her daughter to Jakarta in 1975 to complete her contract with LPPM and do anthropological field work.[24][31] Obama chose to stay with his grandparents in Hawaii to continue attending Punahou School for high school.[32] In 1976, Dunham and her daughter moved to Yogyakarta, living for half a year with Soetoro's 76-year-old mother.[31]

During their years in Indonesia, Dunham became increasingly interested in the country's culture, while Soetoro became more interested in Western culture,[10] and their relationship was in conflict over differing values.[33] Their divorce became final on November 6, 1980.[10]

In his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father, Obama described Soetoro as well-mannered, even-tempered, and easy with people; he wrote of the struggles he felt Soetoro had to deal with after his return to Indonesia from Hawaii.[34] He described his stepfather as following "a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths."[35][36] In a 2007 article, Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent Kim Barker reported that Soetoro "was much more of a free spirit than a devout Muslim, according to former friends and neighbors."[20]

Later life

Soetoro married Erna Kustina in 1980 and had two children, a son, Yusuf Aji Soetoro (born 1981), and daughter, Rahayu Nurmaida Soetoro (born 1987).[37]

Soetoro died, age 52, on March 2, 1987, of liver failure,[28][35] and was buried in Tanah Kusir Cemetery, South Jakarta.


  1. ^ Google Translate's English translation
  2. ^
  3. ^ Toshihiko Atsuyama’s (Foreign Prophecies blog) English translation
  4. ^ a b c d Google Translate's English translation Lolo studied geography at Gadjah Mada University and got a scholarship from the Indonesian Army Topographic Service. After working for the Indonesian Army Topographic Service, he worked for an American oil company, Unocal [Union Oil Company].
  5. ^
  6. ^ Obama (1995, 2004), p. 42.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c d
  11. ^ a b c

  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c d
    At UH, she fell in love with a Javanese candidate for a master's degree in geography named Soetoro Martodihardjo, who went by the Javanese nickname, "Lolo" Soetoro. They married in 1965 ...
    The Dutch had ceded Western New Guinea to Indonesia, and geographer Lolo Soetoro returned to map the new divide between Eastern Guinea, which was under British/Australian control, and the Western portion.
    In the early 1970s … "He got a job with Union Oil," [Alice G.] Dewey said. "Lolo joked that they got divorced because she was falling in love with Javanese handcrafts and he was becoming an American oil man, which wasn't far from the truth."
  14. ^ Date of marriage from Stanley Ann's application to amend her US passport, 6/29/1967.
  15. ^ Obama (1995, 2004), p. 43: He was working for the army as a geologist [sic], surveying roads and tunnels, when she arrived. It was mind-numbing work that didn't pay very much …
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ a b
    reprinted by:

    Dunham (2009), p. 376: "S. Ann Dunham (1942–95), mother of President Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro-ng, earned her undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees, all in anthropology, from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa."
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b c d e f
    Obama and his mother moved from Honolulu to Jakarta to join Soetoro in 1967, when Obama was 6.
    In their first neighborhood ... Soetoro usually was too busy working, first for the Indonesian army and later for a Western oil company.
    Zulfan Adi, a former neighborhood playmate of Obama's who has been cited in news reports as saying Obama regularly attended Friday prayers with Soetoro, told the Tribune he was not certain about that when pressed about his recollections. He only knew Obama for a few months, during 1970, when his family moved to the neighborhood.
    In late 1970, Obama's family moved to another neighborhood, and Obama enrolled in Public Elementary School Menteng No. 1 ...
  21. ^ a b c
  22. ^ a b c d

  23. ^ Obama (1995, 2004), p. 32.
    Maraniss (2012), pp. 230, 240.
  24. ^ a b c d e
  25. ^ on 2007-02-01 by The Muslim Observer
  26. ^ Obama (1995, 2004). p. 46.
  27. ^ Obama (1995, 2004). pp. 54, 58.
    Maraniss (2012), pp. 230, 240.
  28. ^ a b
  29. ^
  30. ^ Obama (1995, 2004). pp. 58–59.
    Maraniss (2012), pp. 264–266.
  31. ^ a b c d Dunham (2009), pp. xli–xliv: "January 8, 1976 letter from Ann Dunham Soetoro (Jl. Polowijan 3, Kraton, Yogyakarta) to Prof. Alice G. Dewey (Univ. of Hawaii, Honolulu)."
  32. ^
  33. ^ Obama (1998, 2004), pp. 44–47.
    Maraniss (2012), pp. 242–243.
  34. ^ Obama (1995, 2004), pp. 30–31.
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^ Obama (1995, 2004), p. 37.
  37. ^ Google Translate's English translation


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