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Indonesia - Firdaus Siddik

Profile of the Bailli Délégué

Everyone has a tale to tell and when you scratch the surface, the stories that unfold can be nothing short of mesmerizing. So it is with Firdaus Siddik, Bailli Délégué of Indonesia, as I realised when I spent a delightful four days with him and his family at his extraordinary home in Bali.

As a young boy, the son of an Indonesian Ambassador, Firdaus had a close friend, a Middle-Eastern Prince whom I shall call George. These two boys together learned the importance of numbers and science as well as friendship and brotherly love. At the age of 12 Firdaus was unofficially adopted by a Thai Princess who sent him to school in Switzerland. Firdaus and George were parted.

Having done exceptionally well at his secondary school the Princess insisted that Firdaus should go to Oxford University, where he elected to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

With her vast resources and connections the Princess ensured that Firdaus was housed in the most prestigious of colleges. He recounts walking through this beautiful building, each room’s occupant named on the door: sirs, lords, princes, and Mr Firdaus Siddik. Who was this guy?

Firdaus is a gentleman, quietly spoken with the exceptional manners that identify him as a man of breeding.

But even in his bespoke suits, with his rooms stocked with all the necessary accoutrements for socialising and entertaining, he was treated as an outsider, his attempts at friendship rebuffed.

And so it was for seven long days. A gentle, kind and intelligent man, suitably dressed, suitably educated and yet unknown and therefore ignored.

Every day he took his classes alone. Ate meals alone. At the end of the week he was miserable.

At dinner time on the eighth day, his thoughts of despair were unexpectedly interrupted by a loud middle-eastern man, a favourite amongst the crowd.

“I say old chap, do you know Firdaus Siddik?” asked the foreigner.
“I am Firdaus Siddik” came the quiet reply.
“I thought so, Firdaus, it’s me, George!”

George introduced Firdaus to everyone around him and it was only a matter of days before the bar in Firdaus’ room was needing to be constantly refreshed. He was accepted and his life would never be the same again.

The magnificent stories unfolded: dating Gene Kelly’s daughter; Yul Brynner coming to tea; going to INSEAD in France to study further; coming home to Indonesia and becoming the youngest partner in the Price Waterhouse world with PW Siddik was instrumental in establishing the new Indonesian economy in the 1980s; the development of businesses and schools and global interests that all intertwined to grow his beloved country.

Everyone has a tale and at its core inevitably there is love, this is one such story.

Deanne Tindale, Vice-Chargée de Presse, Bailliage d’Outre-Mer (Indonesia)