Villagers ponder whether to rebuild their homes or move
Bandar Seri Begawan - Just two days after a tragic fire left 27 families homeless in Kampong Setia 'A' in Kampung Ayer, the villagers were left to pick up the pieces and ponder as to whether they should rebuild their homes in the historic Water Village or move out and start a new beginning on land.
"We have lost everything except for the clothes on our backs. However, the most important thing is to remain strong and find a way to rebuild our houses," said 55-year-old Dyg Halimah.
For centuries, families and relatives have enjoyed the "convenience" of living closely together in the Water Village although thousands decided to move to land throughout the years.
In an interview with the Bulletin, some residents expressed their hopes to rebuild their homes in the Water Village instead of moving to another place. They requested for assistance to make this possible, as all their belongings have been burnt to ashes.
"The only thing that belongs to us now is the concrete foundation of our former houses. All of us fire victims are all closely related to one another," said Dyg Aisah Hj Jumat who lives with 15 people in her house, including her children and grandchildren.
Another fire victim, Dy Halimah Hj Sulaiman, echoed Dyg Aisah's sentiments whilst providing an additional insight on why several fire victims are reluctant to permanently move out of Kampung Ayer. The convenience of car-pooling has been a common practice amongst villagers especially those who do not own a vehicle, hence the unwillingness of some to leave their 'comfort zones'.
However, not all the victims are reluctant to move out. 32-year-old Chung Hwa Middle School Assistant Teacher, Dyg Robiah Hj Budin, said she and her family are still in shock but held high hopes that her national housing application would be speeded up given the situation. "We are more focused on getting a roof over our heads although I've grown accustomed to the warm atmosphere of living close by with my relatives."
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin