Youthful Bandung mayor Ridwan Kamil mistaken for Indonesian president

Jakarta – Indonesian social media users have gleefully shared reports that a German tourist mistook Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil for President Joko Widodo.

A widely shared post on Facebook quoted the foreigner as saying, referring to Ridwan Kamil, who was walking side by side with Jokowi: “Your President is very handsome, cool and looks clever, wearing a black traditional hat and eye glasses.. He looks young.. How old is he?”

“I wanted to correct him, but I don’t know, words just got in the way, ” Ridwan Fathurrohman,  the Facebook user,  wrote in Sundanese.

Jokowi was in Bandung on Thursday to inspect preparations for the Asia-Africa Conference 60th commemoration summit.

Ridwan Kamil, popularly known as Emil, may have been flattered and may himself harbour presidential ambitions, but he refused to comment on the confusion.

“President Ridwan Kamil” was also trending on Twitter on Friday.

“Good morning Mr. President @ridwankamil. We hope you are always in good health to lead our nation to the future. | ‘Presiden’ Ridwan Kamil” @twitpanas tweeted.

Ridwan, a 43-year-old  US-educated architect, was elected mayor of Bandung, the country’s third largest city, in 2013 despite his lack of experience in public office.

He has since built parks, relocated street vendors who blocked traffic, launched a state-of-the-art command centre styled after USS Enterprise from the popular TV series Star Trek, and drawn up plans to build a monorail and a cable car system

Ridwan himself is a prolific social media user, with more than 1 million followers on Twitter.

He regularly responds to complaints, or even angry criticism from unhappy residents on Twitter, and often criticises the local media for focusing on things that go wrong in Bandung instead of reporting on his achievements.

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