Pohon Terang, at the Borneo Evangelical (SIB) Church in the Ba'kelalan Highlands on Christmas eve.
A heart warming letter sent to APANAMA. It was written by Sandra who wanted to share her Christmas joy with other Malaysians.
“My house is now full. Except for Sigar who is in Kuching, all my children are back for Christmas with their spouses and kids. For years, we always spend Christmas alone or with one or two of our children.
“But this year all of them are back - except Sigar who could not make it because of work. I am so happy,” exclaimed ibu Supang Balang who smiled widely with time-drawn wrinkles on her beautiful face.
Things were also different for Bina Yahya, the grandson of Pak Tua Labung who works in a multinational company in Bintulu.
With limited off days and just timber tracks connecting the outside world to his village in Ba’kelalan, it was a very difficult task to spend holidays in the remote highlands with their only grandfather.
But this Christmas Bina Yahya happily drove his car all the way from Bintulu to Ba’kelalan (at the Sarawak/Kalimantan border).
Thanks to the new road built by the government.
I remember when we were at Seri Perdana last month, Datuk Shahlan (Ismail - political secretary to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Haji Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak) mentioned that barely 9 days after taking office in Putrajaya, the PM had asked him to go to the interiors of Sarawak to observe the ground situation of the local people there. The rest is history.
Today, many enjoyed Christmas and the long holiday season with their family and loved ones in the remote highlands because our village is now accessible by road. You no longer need to travel by four-wheel-drive vehicles and spent the night on the road when it rains.
This year we enjoyed the biggest ever Christmas gathering in history as almost everyone made it a point to drive home to Ba’Kelalan. Those who returned home to Long Semadoh and Ba’kelalan for Christmas drove home from as far as Kuching (more than 1,000 km), Bintulu, Miri, Brunei and Kota Kinabalu, much to their old folks delight.
More of Sandra's letter and pictures in APANAMA