Indonesian President Joko Widodo has adopted a spirit of austerity by flying economy class. People around the world have had to tighten their belts because of government cuts and higher taxes. Indonesia's leader has set an example to other world leaders that presidents are not exempt from making personal cutbacks. He and his wife flew economy class last week to Singapore to attend his son's high-school graduation ceremony. Mr Widodo opted not to use the official presidential airplane because his trip was of a personal nature. The couple paid for the air tickets themselves but the taxpayers footed the bill for the security officers who were on the flight to protect the president.
The Widodos are becoming known for their down-to-earth living. They have led a very modest lifestyle since he became leader of the world's fourth most populous country last month. His wife Iriana is never seen in designer dresses and does a lot of her shopping in a Jakarta clothing market. There was mixed reaction on social media in Indonesia to the couple flying economy, with some believing it was little more than a publicity stunt. One man tweeted: "Living a fake life is difficult. Widodo went to Singapore flying economy but slept in an expensive hotel." A woman praised him, tweeting: "Widodo sets a good example by flying economy. Hopefully other officials can follow in his footsteps."