Apart from hobnobbing with assorted royals, politicos and rich businessfolk (eager to capitalise on Indonesia’s mineral wealth and cheap labour) in the UK, President SBY has received the honorary title ‘Sir’. He will henceforth be one of the Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, the highest rank of one of the oldest orders of British chivalry..
In case anyone here thinks that the title is undeserved, don’t be. As a non-Brit, like most of the folk, including Suharto, who’ve been given the British bauble, he’s not allowed to use it. As I regularly remind those students of mine who don’t address me as ‘Your Majesty’, ‘Sir’ is reserved for good folk like me.
SBY was also the guest of honour at a grand nosh (aka “a lavish state banquet”) hosted by HRH Queen Bess II in a ballroom in Buckingham Palace, when she praised him for leading democratic change in Indonesia.
I can’t get details of the menu, but to get an idea, this was what Barack Obama and entourage were offered on his state visit to the UK in May last year.
Meanwhile, back in Indonesia, there has been a concerted effort to fight malnutrition “amid soaring stunting cases among Indonesian children.”
The EU has donated €4.1 miilion to Indonesia to overcome this problem. As its representative Erik Habers says, “Intervention to overcome malnutrition is related to a change of behavior. And as we all know, it needs time and extraordinary efforts to change behavior.”
UNICEF estimates that malnutrition contributes to half the deaths of Indonesian children before they reach age five, and for those children who survive, malnutrition can impair brain development and hobble learning capacity, weaken a child’s immunity and increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and strokes.
Furthermore, a 2004 study by the University of Southern California [showed that] malnutrition in early childhood can even lead to antisocial and aggressive behavior throughout childhood and into late adolescence.
The study found that compared to those in the control group – the group that did not suffer from nutritional deficiencies – malnourished children showed a 41 percent increase in aggression at age 8, a 10 percent increase in aggression and delinquency at age 11 and a 51 percent increase in violent and antisocial behavior at age 17.
I wonder if, while slurping at the trough at Buck House, SBY pondered on the ever increasing reports of communal and religious strife among the less well off sections of Indonesian society.