Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Obama has links to Sabah


Dr Konrad Ng is amused that his Malaysian roots got noticed halfway round the world, thanks to his link to Democrat candidate Barack Obama. An assistant professor at the University of Hawaii in Manoa (UHM), Ng, whose family originally comes from Sabah, is married to Obama’s half-sister Maya Soetoro. Maya and Obama have the same mother. In an e-mail interview with The Star, Ng, 34, said that his father, Howard, was born in Sandakan and his mother, Joan, in Kudat. “I have many relatives who live throughout Malaysia, especially in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and the two towns where my parents came from,” he said. His parents subsequently settled in Canada and Ng was born there. Maya was born to Lob Soetoro, an Indonesian businessman, and Ann Dunham, a white American cultural anthropologist, who is also Obama’s mother. Ng said his parents return to Malaysia once every one to two years. “It remains an important place of origin to them. In addition to a large, extended family, they have many good friends in Malaysia. I try to visit Malaysia every few years; it is a special country aid feels familiar to me,” said Ng. Maya, who was born in Jakarta, also cherishes her Indonesian roots. According to Ng, she is active in the local Indonesian community and continues to speak Indonesian when she can. She visits Indonesia every few years. Ng described Obama as exceptionally brilliant.

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