Thousands bid farewell to Indonesia's former first lady

Above: Mrs Ani Yudhoyono was given a military funeral at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta. Left: Former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, accompanied by his family members, laying flowers during his wife's funeral.
Former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, accompanied by his family members, laying flowers during his wife's funeral.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Above: Mrs Ani Yudhoyono was given a military funeral at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta. Left: Former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, accompanied by his family members, laying flowers during his wife's funeral.
Mrs Ani Yudhoyono was given a military funeral at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The wife of Indonesia's sixth president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was buried following a military funeral in Jakarta yesterday, which was attended by thousands of family members, friends, military personnel and members of the public.

Mrs Ani Yudhoyono, 66, died at the National University Hospital (NUH) in Singapore at 11.50am last Saturday, after four months of treatment for leukaemia.

Her remains were flown from Paya Lebar Air Base to Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base, and later transported to her house in Cikeas, West Java.

The funeral, held at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta, was led by President Joko Widodo and attended by other high-profile figures, including former presidents B.J. Habibie and Megawati Soekarnoputri and former vice-presidents Try Sutrisno and Boediono. Also present were foreign guests, including Singapore's Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, along with officials from the Prime Minister's Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Singapore Ambassador to Indonesia Anil Kumar Nayar, as well as the Australian, Japanese and South Korean ambassadors.

Mr Joko noted that Indonesia had lost one of its most high-profile figures, "an affectionate first lady" and "a sincere defender of humanity", who had led by example as a mother, wife and first lady.

"Her entire life had been dedicated to the interest of our nation and state," he said. "She was a very loyal wife in good and bad times, passing though challenging days in accompanying our sixth president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in building our beloved nation."

Mrs Yudhoyono was an avid photographer, whose pictures were compiled in a book, The Colours Of Harmony. She was also active on social media, particularly Instagram, where she shared about her life, including her cancer treatment at NUH, with her 6.4 million followers.

 
 
 

The mother of two sons and grandmother of four grandchildren also published eight books that she wrote or co-wrote.

In his speech, her elder son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono quoted from her book The Flap Of A Soldier: "Each one of us will return, united with the earth. When the time comes, it is the values we lived by that will perfume our final resting place."

Calling her by her nickname, he said: "Goodbye, Memo. We love you, and we will forever miss you. Thank you for your prayers and sacrifice, service and dedication, for the family, the people, the nation and the state."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2019, with the headline 'Thousands bid farewell to Indonesia's former first lady'. Print Edition | Subscribe