Across the Borderline of Two Countries
ACTNews, SANGGAU – Living on the borderline of two countries has its own perks. For us who don’t experience it, it is quite unimaginable to be able to go from the soil of one country to another in a short time. For Dayang Zahra (53), such things are very ordinary. Crossing the border of two countries is something she has done for more than 50 years.
“I often go to the Malaysian side, as if it was just a trip to the market,” said Dayang Zahra, nicknamed Dara.
For all their life, Dara and her family have been living in Entikong Village, Sanggau Regency. This village borders West Kalimantan, Indonesia, and Serawak, Malaysia. Like a third of the population in Entikong, Dara works across the border. Carrying a passport, she goes back and forth to the Malaysian side each month.
“It is not so far, only 30 minutes away by bus from Entikong to Serian,” said Dara.
Although she works abroad, Dara said, her job is not something really prestigious. She works in a small coffee shop in the city of Serian, Serawak, Malaysia. It belongs to her relatives in Malaysia. Every day, she manages the coffee shop and serves the customers who come for coffee and other drinks.
“Yes, Alhamdulillah, I earn 20 Malaysian ringgit (around IDR 70,000) each day. Sometimes our finances are also supported by my only son who works as a porter. It is not much,” said Dara who is a widow. In Entikong, she lives with her only son, his wife and his child on a wooden stilted house.
It was in the second week of June, the third week of Ramadan. Dara has just arrived from Serian, Malaysia. She decided to go home early to spend the rest of Ramadan and Eid with her little family.
She did not expect to find a big package containing food items. She is one of the recipient of the Ramadan Food Package for the Country’s Guardians (PPR-MPN) supported by the zakat fund of Indonesian people collected by Global Zakat-Aksi Cepat Tanggap.
“I get rice, cooking oil, sugar and cookies. Alhamdulillah for receiving this food package before Eid. Thank you very much. Sometimes I also get such package in Malaysia, but this year there isn’t. In Entikong, this is the first time I get food parcel for Eid,” said Dara.
Collaboration with Indonesian National Army
Entikong Village, Sanggau Regency, is one of the target locations of the PPR-MPN in West Kalimantan. In this province, the distribution also reached two other regencies on the border, Sambas and Bengkayang. In total, there are 2,000 Ramadan food packages distributed in these three regencies.
In the distribution, ACT collaborated with Indonesian National Army taskforce that guards the border in West Kalimantan. Battalion commander 511 Infantry Lieutenant Colonel Jadi S.P.I appreciated the distribution of the Ramadan food packages. To him, this activity is in line with the president’s nawacita to build the nation from the bordering areas.
“It means that these areas need to be reached out by all elements of society and components of government institutions. This initiative is great to reach the people on the border. Hopefully, there will be more similar activities each year so that the people on the border can enjoy and celebrate Eid with joy. Thank you ACT. May the ACT team always prosper and be in good health,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jadi.
Most of Dara’s relatives live in several regions in Malaysia. However, Dara opts to celebrate Eid this year in Entikong with her little family.
“This year, I'll celebrate Eid with my son's family. Usually I celebrate Eid there (in Malaysia),” said Dara.
In recent years, she has been going back and forth to Malaysia, something very common for people living in Dara’s region. Despite already familiar with Malaysia, she admitted that she is not willing to change citizenship.
“People have been asking me why I don’t move to Malaysia and change my citizenship, since my relatives are there and I also work there. My late aunt once offered me to change citizenship, but I don’t want it. I already love Indonesia. I cross the border only to work,” said Dara who never actually visits many places in Indonesia, including Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan.
This Eid, Dara is grateful to be able to celebrate it with her little family in their village. “This Eid, I will cook some Lemang (glutinous rice cake) and some usual dishes that I usually cook,” she said.
Her smile reflected the simplicity of Eid celebration on the border.