JAKARTA (AP) – Indonesia’s new president says he wants to be called by his nickname, and has revealed who first gave it to him: a French furniture buyer.
Joko Widodo, who was sworn in as president on Monday, has long been widely known as Jokowi, a contraction of his two names.
Asked by a journalist of The Jakarta Post newspaper what he would like to be called, he said “Joko” would be awkward, and “Mr Widodo or President Widodo” would sound strange.
“President Jokowi,” he said, for those who insist on attaching his official title. “But otherwise, just Jokowi.”
Kompas daily quoted him as saying a French man gave him the name when he was buying furniture from Jokowi (pronounced jo-KO-wee) in his days as a businessman before going into politics in 2005.
The French man was buying on Java island from several people called Joko, so he added the “wi” to help him.
The paper said the man, identified as “Bernard”, visited Jokowi on Monday in Jakarta and published a photo of them together.
Jokowi’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was better known by his initials, SBY.