Barack Obama is not only the first black US President but also the first to have such international family ties, including one that connects him to Malaysia, albeit tenuously!
ONE of the strongest reasons for optimism about the Barack Obama’s presidency is the man’s diverse family background. While his predecessor, George W. Bush, came from an insular family of WASP blue-bloods, Obama is the very embodiment of the American “melting-pot”.
His family tree is truly varied and includes half-siblings from his father’s three other relationships and his mother’s second marriage, spread out in different parts of the world.
However, at the very centre of his life were two very strong women with a liberal world outlook. His recently deceased grandmother Madelyn Lee Payne (1922-2008) was a very progressive woman who overcome the discriminatory practices of her time to become vice-president of a bank in Hawaii.
She passed her liberal views onto her only child (Stanley) Ann Durham (1942-1995) who, in the course of her studies as an anthropologist, met and married Kenyan student Barack Hussein Obama, Sr (1936-1982).
Obama Sr was born into the Kenyan tribe of Luo that had converted from Christianity to Islam. He was something of a ladies man, fathering six other sons and a daughter with three other women (his first wife Keiza, third wife Ruth and a woman named Jael).
Continue reading at: Obama’s kith and kin - connection to Sabah, Malaysia Borneo
* Bittersweet moment for Obama’s kin - 07 Nov 2008
* Sabah’s Obama link - 28 Jul 2008
* Obama has links to Malaysia - 21 Jul 2008