Joko Widodo or more locally known as Jokowi is a furniture businessman turned mayor of the city of Surakarta in Central Java, then for the bustling metropolitan capital, Jakarta. He is known for having a humble, down-to-earth personality and that subtle enthusiasm for problem solving. In just a matter of months after he took office in October 2012, he has won the hearts of millions of Indonesians eager for change. One of the special things about him is the implementation of the blusukan concept where the word blusuk in Javanese means “going in” or “unannounced visits”.

Therefore, Jokowi is very active in going down to the field to see what is actually going on, actually getting out of the office to see how conflicts and unfortunate situations that has surfaced can be resolved.  As a result, a lot of people including in the middle and lower class find a glimmer of hope and trust in his leadership.  Whether it’s to solve flooding problems, talking about education and health reforms with those residing in Jakarta’s slums, or to listen to the problems of local market sellers, he is always welcomed with excitement in the air. It appears that by being involved first-hand, he is able to understand the city’s problems better. in a way, he is an “elite” politician but he doesn’t act as one, or is he seen as an “elite” in the eyes of the people. The marginalized society hopes in him, and intellectuals respect him.

Of course, some problems can’t be solved overnight and some has considered his unannounced visits to be just a publicity stunt.But Jokowi is always looking forward, always on the move to make room for improvement. Some of his decisions are difficult, doubt and scrutiny from others linger in the air, but Jokowi has and is continuing to prove his capability to solve problems with honesty and innovation. This is just another proof how simplicity can make someone pretty much extraordinary.

From the picture above, the impact of Jokowi’s leadership has not only touched the minds and hearts of Jakartans but throughout Indonesia and of course, in Yogyakarta. A moment to wait for the rain to die down has led me to take cover near a local t-shirt shop and that particular one stood out with an outmost brightness. Besides the creativity of people here in Yogyakarta, looking at the t-shirt formed a realization of how people are just yearning for change, and how they cling to his leadership to lead them on to a better future.

With the upcoming elections in April, Jokowi is very strong in the polls. However, he hasn’t agreed yet to run. Therefore it’s somewhat funny and endearing at the same time to see how people seem to ignore that fact and how strongly that they have his back. Even through the challenges that he has faced and will face in the future, that kind of collective trust is definitely something very unique and special to observe.

And all of that represented in a simple red t-shirt. How neat is that?