Indonesian First Daughter Refuses Special Treatment

Indonesia’s president and his family redefine VIP protocol.

Kahiyang Ayu, daughter of the new Indonesian President Joko Widodo, has severe protocol issues – she hates them.

She made international news when she recently appeared to sit her civil service exams along with 6,000 other candidates, shunning the special privileges normally afforded to not just the head of states and their families but even relatives of the country's elite. She refused to be given a position of privilege without going through the ropes like everyone else.

"By participating in the ... test, I hope, we’ll see depending on the results, to pass it and be accepted as a civil service employee," said Ayu.

"Yes, she sat near the stairs during the exam, just two seats away from where I sat.. I didn’t see any security guard at her side during the test.  She did her ... test with no special treatment," a fellow participant told VOA.

It’s not surprising as her father has come to power promising to wipe out the evils of corruption common in the country. He seems to be on the right track as he has began with a sweeping of his own potential cabinet members.  He has actually appointed an anti-corruption watchdog to scrutinize each and every one of the candidates inside out.

Judging from her social profiles online, Kahiyang Ayu is a pretty normal young girl with activities no different than others her age – somewhat tame though, comparatively.


my lil graduation night lol ??????

A photo posted by Kahiyang Ayu (@ayanggkahiyang) on


A photo posted by Kahiyang Ayu (@ayanggkahiyang) on


Halal Bi Halal #family #idul #fitri #1435H

A photo posted by Kahiyang Ayu (@ayanggkahiyang) on

The new president likes keeping things simple and closer to the ground and does not like VIP treatment. He recently flew to his son’s graduation in economy class with his wife Iriana. They stood in queues like normal people and had no qualms about it.

Unlike previous Indonesian leaders, President Jokowi is neither from the military, nor does he belong to an elite class. In terms of his religious beliefs, though Muslim, he is not a fundamentalist nor has he shown any signs of imposing religious dictates on anyone.

There are those who accuse him of doing all this as a publicity stunt. But overall his exemplary behavior is being received as a refreshing change.

Indeed, even if this is all part of a strategically designed campaign, it’s a step in the right direction to discourage VIP culture and preferential treatment by social and political elite and their families.