In Javanese culure, a ruler must stand chivalrously above strife: cool, intelligent and self-contained. Sound familiar?
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Like a lot of people in the autumn of 2012, I watched the TV debates between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It was the last big performance in that interminable presidential election campaign in the United States. Every now and then, as Obama did verbal battle with his adversary, I noticed something I didn’t expect to see. It was a gesture he made with his hand: for emphasis, he would point at Romney with his thumb. I wasn’t the only one to have seen this. In a short piece on the BBC website, a reporter wrote: read more