An exclusive interview and written by Aulia R Sungkar…Photography by Loepy…published in the 7th Edition of PMR Magazine S’pore, April 2010.
Beauty is the artwork that creates the charming in life of the Indonesian former first lady.
A warm chat with Lady Dewi Sukarno, widow of the late former Indonesian President Soekarno during a lunch was tied in a jovial mood. Born with the name Naoko Nemoto, the 70-year-old Lady Dewi surely looks much younger than look.
Dressed in light blue, the get-up-and-go Lady Dewi reveals her recipe of what has made her stay fit and beautiful. “I believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but you should not forget that happiness is what reflects the beauty. Being beautiful would be meaningless if you weren’t happy.”
Having lived in few countries, Lady Dewi currently lives in Tokyo, the city where she was born. To her, nevertheless, Indonesia is still regarded as home.
Always look on the bright side of Bapak (literally means ‘father’ – how she calls the late Soekarno), Lady Dewi takes the late Soekarno as her paragon.
She is indeed the world’s Indonesian woman ambassador as she proudly brings the name of Indonesia wherever she goes.
The outspoken Lady Dewi truly possesses not only beauty and smart, but also a sense of humour. The elegance table setting in a Jakarta’s prestigious residence welcomed PMR as Lady Dewi cheered everybody up while sharing her life story.
After all these years you have been through, can you define the meaning of life in your own words?
Life is the most precious gift and we therefore should get the most of it. The older you are, the more mature you should be and the better you appreciate the beauty of life. As we all learn from experience, we should be more realized that the world offers a myriad of things for people to enjoy.
What was the most memorable moment you had as the first lady during the late Soekarno’s government?
Year 1962. It was the year of victory for Bapak. In this year, Indonesia, under his leadership successfully acquired Irian Jaya. This was the year that Indonesia for the first time hosted Asian Games. Year 1962 also marked a historical landmark where Bapak inaugurated Hotel Indonesia, the Southeast Asia’s first five-star hotel. I am so proud of him, and to me, he’s one of the world’s greatest leaders of all times.
What would you like to do if you could turn back the time?
Living my best life. But I don’t have to revert to life existing in the past. I’m happy in whatever stage I was in the past and at present. As for the future, I would like to see myself to live until the age of 105.
What are your current activities?
My daily routine includes being commentator and talk show host on Japanese TV stations such as Channel 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12. I also involve in a number of charitable activities. One of them is NPO Earth Aid Society, which I established in 2005. The purpose of the establishment of this organization is to bind brotherhood among people all over the world regardless of their ethnicity, religion and nationality.
I like doing sports like swimming, diving and snorkelling. I still regularly swim at my age now. But I prefer doing it indoor.
You do diving and snorkelling at your age?
Sometimes. Do I look like someone who is not strong for those sports? (laugh…)
How about your favourite food?
Of course Indonesian and Japanese cuisines. I especially like gado-gado and pete. As for Japanese, sushi and tempura are my favourites. I also appreciate food from other continents, especially Western food. Italian dish is among the best to choose from European food.
What are your world’s favourite cities?
In Indonesia, Bali is the best destination. Among my favourite cities I enjoy staying are Paris, Vienna and New York. There are many things happening in New York. The city is very cosmopolitan. Paris possesses historical beauty and aristocratic culture. And for going to an orchestra, Vienna is second to none.
Let’s talk about fashion. What do you like to wear?
Something that has the taste of feminism, elegance and compliment. I admire many fashion brands, but it is important to choose the one that fits my personality and character. For example, I consider Kenzo as one of the esteemed fashion brands, but I never wear it because the motif and style don’t reflect my personality and character.