President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday surprised world leaders on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, by singing and strumming out “Happy Birthday” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin, who turned 61 on Monday, arrived at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport midday. He then went to a lunch at the Sofitel Hotel with all 20 heads of state participating in the conference.
As other leaders extended their birthday greetings to the Russian president, a guitar-wielding Yudhoyono appeared with Indonesian media mogul Chairul Tanjung, who was holding a cake in his hands.
“I’m sorry — I didn’t immediately receive intelligence information about your birthday,” Yudhoyono told Putin. “I should have sung a song for you with my guitar as soon as you arrived in Bali.”
The Indonesian president then proceeded to carefully croon “Happy Birthday.”
Putin, obviously touched by the display, blew out his candles, shook hands with Yudhoyono and brought him in for an embrace. Putin said that he was delighted by the “surprise” and thanked Yudhoyono for the song.
Putin was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Oct. 7, 1952.
Yudhoyono is known to have a penchant for singing. He has released three albums in collaboration with local musicians and penned most of the songs himself. JG