Call me by my nickname Jokowi, Widodo would sound strange: Indonesia prez

"Joko" would be awkward, and "Mr. Widodo or president Widodo" would sound strange, said the Indonesian president.

By: Associated Press | Jakarata | Updated: October 22, 2014 1:48:45 pm
New Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center, talks to the media at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. (Source: AP) New Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center, talks to the media at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. (Source: 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.

New Indonesian President Joko Widodo prepares for the visit of Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. (Source: AP) New Indonesian President Joko Widodo prepares for the visit of Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. (Source: AP)

“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 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.

JOKO3 New Indonesian President Joko Widodo, right, talks to the media at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. (Source: AP)

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.

Abdurrahman Wahid, another former president, was often addressed as Gus Dur. Gus is an honorific meaning “older brother”; the ‘Dur’ was taken from Abdurrahman.

A painting of new Indonesian President Joko Widodo is displayed at his street-side kiosk in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. (Source: AP) A painting of new Indonesian President Joko Widodo is displayed at his street-side kiosk in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014. (Source: AP)

Some foreign leaders and officials already refer to the current president, Indonesia’s seventh, as Jokowi, as do local and foreign media.

In its news stories, The Associated Press uses nicknames in place of a person’s given name when that is how the individual prefers to be known.

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