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Reserved place for Obamamania in record books

barrak obamaJAKARTA: A book at a thumb-numbing 5,472 pages, devoted to the life of Barack Obama is probably not going to be on the US President’s list of beach reads, but its Indonesian author is hoping for interest from the White House.

Hailed by Indonesian record keepers as the world’s thickest book, “The Collection, Obama and Pluralism,” was unveiled by local author, director and artist, Damien Dematra to coincide with a visit by the US president which ended on Wednesday.

At 34 cm (about 1 ft) thick, the hardbound tome chronicles snippets of Obama’s life in

Jakarta. The US president spent about four years in Indonesia as a child with his anthropologist mother from 1967 and during his visit spoke fondly of those days.

Author Dematra, who credits the start of his “Obamamania” to a dinner he attended at the US embassy, has already completed seven books and a movie about the US president in less than a year.

Dematra good-naturedly shrugs off suggestions he is obsessed.

“I don’t mind; for me, the crazier, the better,” he said. “He is someone I’ve been inspired

by, giving me more understanding on the potential of dreams and pluralism.”

Jaya Suprana, curator of Indonesia’s records museum in a nation obsessed with record breaking, said the size of the book beats the previous international title holder — Agatha Christie’s “The Complete Miss Marple”, a relatively slender 4,032 pages.

Dematra’s book includes letters to Obama from students at his former school. One child with leukaemia wrote to Obama asking for help with medical treatment in the United States.

Other letters expressed admiration and sympathy for the job.

“I think it’s not exciting to become a president. Just look at President SBY,” said one, a reference to Indonesian leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“Every day he looks as if he has a headache. It must be even harder to lead the American people.”

Obama flew on Wednesday to South Korea, and spent less than 24 hours in Jakarta on the second stop of his 10-day four-nation Asian tour, where he attends a G20 summit.

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