SINGAPORE: When a photo of Mr Kaesang Pangarep, the younger son of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, was posted online recently, it caught the eye of one X (formerly known as Twitter) user because Mr Kaesang happened to be wearing a Singapore Air Force singlet in the picture.
“Soft power is having President Jokowi’s son wearing a Republic of Singapore Air Force singlet,” wrote Mr Bryan Cheong, who goes by @bryancsk on X, when he shared a Sept 25 post from an account called @Populism Updates about Mr Kaesang that showed him wearing the Air Force singlet.
Soft power is having President Jokowi’s son wearing a Republic of Singapore Air Force singlet https://t.co/zDBWlaZaoV
— Bryan (@bryancsk) September 25, 2023
Mr Kaesang, 28, made headlines recently after joining — and then very quickly becoming the head of — a youth party in Indonesia.
Having joined the Indonesia Solidarity Party (PSI) on Saturday (Sept 23), Mr Kaesang was named its chairman by Monday (Sept 25).
In June, he had expressed interest in running for mayor.
Mr Kaesang is a social media figure as well as an entrepreneur. He co-owns Persis Solo, a Liga 1 football club.
As for his connection to Singapore, he is an alumnus of the Anglo-Chinese School (International) Singapore and the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
Meanwhile, Mr Cheng’s post was screengrabbed and shared on Reddit Singapore, where it elicited quite a number of remarks.
“I train with Indonesia army many years ago when they visited Singapore, at the end of the training some of us exchange PT kit with them like how a football match end. Both side also got a combined logo patch for that exercise,” wrote one Reddit user.
Another agreed, writing, “I trained with a couple of armies when I was in RSAF. Not uncommon to trade some army stuff at the end.”
“Far better to exchange tshirts than gunfire (which happened within living memory),” noted another.
“Democracy is having a President’s son in a political party his father doesn’t belong to,” observed another.
However, one opined that “This party of ‘youngsters’ promised to reform indonesia’s political system, which they claimed has been tolerating corruption, collusion and nepotism because of senior political players gaming the problematic old system.
But here they just made someone their leader just because he is president’s son. (Kaesang does not have ANY political track record).”
A commenter, however, said he was confused by Mr Cheng’s caption. “Why is wearing another country’s military singlet ‘soft power’? Uncle don’t understand can some young person explain to me pls.”
“It shows that the children of political leaders are willing to personally identify with another country. It acts as a form of deterrence as those country’s leaders are less likely to cause problems with Singapore due to these personal connections,” a Redditor explained. /TISG