Norman Harsono had a small party inside his classroom. His friends posed together (left to right standing): Jyotiskha Johal, Fionny Adeline Hutama, Barron Konstantin Kalisang, Bianca Chang (black shirt with glasses), Brian Aditya Wijaya, Steven Liang, Norman Harsono, Badar Khan (blue shirt on the back), Min Hwi Oh, Lydia Tanuri and Alycia Aditya (red shirt). Felicia Sugiarto, Ricciardo Vincenzo Leuterio (striped polo shirt) and Tushar Bedi (yellow shirt) posed on the front row.
Four girls posed separately (smaller photo below, left to right): Urjitha Kadandale, Jyotiskha Johal, Gabrieli Hansoehardi and Alycia Aditya.
We organized a small birthday celebration in Norman's classroom on Friday. Norman blew the candles and distributed snack bags to his friends. They sang Happy Birthday for him. It was lively. Norman's friends are mostly in their 12 or 13.
They also teased Jyotiskha Johal, Norman's close friend, to be his "girl friend." We laughed hearthily. Joytiskha often takes the initiatives in their class. Norman often helps Joytiskha when their class has a group work.
Norman was born in Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC) hospital in Jakarta on January 25, 1997. When he was two years old, I brought him to Cambridge, a small town in Boston, Massachussette, where I studied journalism as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Norman was still very young. His hair was not even growing yet. Norman went to a day care in Cambridge.
When returning to Jakarta, Norman studied at Montesori school in Kemang. His elementary school started at Gandhi Memorial International School when its building was still in Ancol. Fionny, Norman and Brian were in the same class, namely, Grade 1-B. The school moved to its current building, in Kemayoran, when Norman was in grade four. Now Norman is 12 years old and currently in Grade 7-C. He likes his science class so much. He is also starting to have facial hair above his upper lip. He is already a teenager now.
When asked to choose a present, Norman told Sapariah, his step mom, that he wanted a 5,000-piece puzzle. Sapariah bought him Pieter Bruegel's The Tower of Babel. It depicts a traditional King Nimrod inspecting stonemasons. It is pretty large. I have to buy an extra plywood, big enough to let him working out the puzzle, inside his bedroom.
According to Jewish tradition, Tower of Babel was an enormous tower built under Nimrod in Babel, the Hebrew name for Babylon. The tales say a united humanity, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, took part in the building. The people decided Babel should have a tower so immense that it would have "its top in the heavens." God, seeing what the people were doing, confounded their languages and scattered the people throughout the earth. They cannot finish the tower.