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Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014

Asia

Jokowi takes Zuckerberg on ‘blusukan’

The Jakarta Post/ANN | Tuesday, Oct 14, 2014

Could you ‘Like’ this?: President-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (center left) recommends a pair of pants to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (center right) during a visit to the Tanah Abang textile market in Jakarta on Monday. Zuckerberg is currently on a visit to Indonesia.

JAKARTA - President-elect and Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has his own way of welcoming guests, particularly special ones.

As if a one-on-one meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was on a visit to Indonesia, was not enough to attract the media's attention, Jokowi triggered yet another media frenzy by taking the arguably youngest billionaire on earth on a blusukan (impromptu visit) to the Blok A market in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.

Zuckerberg visited City Hall, Jokowi's office as the Jakarta governor, to meet with the president-elect on Monday to discuss potential cooperation under his forthcoming administration.

Zuckerberg arrived at City Hall at 10 minutes to 9 a.m., when he was scheduled to meet Jokowi, and had a meeting which ran for about 40 minutes.

Contrary to common security protocol for a president, Jokowi impulsively came up with the idea of taking Zuckerberg on a blusukan.

"He asked me about blusukan because he saw pictures of me when meeting with the people or visiting traditional markets. He later asked whether or not he could have that experience. So I thought why not go to Tanah Abang because it is close [to City Hall]," he said after the guest left City Hall.

It was just another blusukan day for Jokowi, but apparently not so for Zuckerberg. "He said he felt tired just after five minutes," Jokowi said with a grin.

Jokowi, Zuckerberg - both wearing black suits - and their entourage comprising dozens of presidential security guards, including snipers, and Zuckerberg's team members, arrived at 10:15 a.m. to be welcomed by a swarm of journalists and market shoppers.

The Facebook founder looked relaxed and excited, smiling the whole time, despite the overwhelming crowd and presidential detail surrounding the two.

People at the market, however, were mostly excited about the fact that they were crossing paths with Jokowi, who is set to be inaugurated as the seventh president of the country next week.

"I don't know who that is," Aisyah, a middle-aged woman, said, when asked about the man walking next to Jokowi.

A younger visitor acknowledged that he had no idea about Jokowi's companion, but immediately became excited when informed that it was the founder of Facebook.

The excitement ended after 15 minutes, after which Jokowi and Zuckerberg rushed to Jokowi's Toyota Innova car and drove back to City Hall, where they separated.

Zuckerberg, named TIME's 2010 person of the year, visited Indonesia to promote the Internet.org campaign, a global initiative aimed at promoting access to affordable Internet services, which he said would contribute to the local economy in the long run.

"When we think about which countries to focus on with Internet.org and Facebook [we consider] how many people can use the services and also how much better and stronger the economy can be if everyone's on the Internet. Here I think there are 150 million or 200 million people who don't have access to the Internet and unlocking that can transform the economy, can help create jobs and help small businesses grow. There's a lot of data that suggests that business that use the Internet to communicate with customers grow twice the speed of small businesses that don't use the Internet," Zuckerberg told journalists at City Hall.

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