The Indonesian version joins a well-established stable of Sesame Street offshoots, with local versions produced in 120 countries, including Egypt and Bangladesh.

 

The Indonesian-language version will feature Tantan, a smart orang-utan with long shaggy orange hair who plays a motherly figure, and Jabrik, a baby Javan rhino who sports a purple mohawk.

 
Instead of Elmo, Oscar, Cookie Monster or Big Bird, children watching the Indonesian version will see Momon, a five-year-old boy who likes maths and drawing, and Putri, a three-and-a-half year-old pony-tailed girl who loves adventures.
 

"Jalan Sesama" is expected to begin broadcasts later this year [Reuters]
 

Producers say the screenplay will adopt many familiar elements of local culture, featuring singing in local dialects and the use of traditional musical instruments.

 

A miniature of a typical Indonesian neighbourhood of clay-tiled houses, along with a motorcycle taxi stop and a snack vendor's cart has been built in the studio in south Jakarta.

 

The production is part of a US effort to win over hearts and minds in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

 

Tantan the orangutan will dispense
words of wisdom [Reuters]
John Heffern, charge d'affaires at the US embassy in Jakarta, said the show would allow "learning in a fun and creative way" carrying messages on hygiene and health, and the importance of girls' education.

 

The US regards Muslim-majority Indonesia as a key democratic ally in Asia and an important player in its war on terror.

 

"The show will help in laying the foundations of elementary education that would benefit in later stages of education," William Frej of USAID said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

 

The six-year US-funded education programme includes the upgrading of 3,000 schools across Indonesia aimed at tackling widespread health problems and poverty.