For many, the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge — even more so for families who have been separated from their children due to travel restrictions.
With the ongoing pandemic, many Malaysian parents with work commitments in Singapore still find themselves unable to return home due to Malaysia’s movement control order.
But that hasn’t stopped some families from reuniting despite the challenges.
Grandparents endure long bus and plane ride
According to a Facebook post by Malaysian politician and Johor State Executive Councillor Liow Cai Tung, some grandparents in Malaysia have risen to the challenge to help reunite their grandkids with their parents in Singapore.
But not without some heartache and persistence.
To get to Johor Bahru, Liow shared that some grandparents had to take a bus and plane.
Among them was a grandmother who accompanied her grandchild from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur, she said. Thereafter, the grandmother took a plane to Johor before crossing the Johor-Singapore land border.
After hurriedly handing her grandson over to his mother, the grandmother proceeded to take a night bus back to Ipoh alone.
According to Liow’s post, it is not the first time that she had assisted families in their reunion. She said that most of the children were brought to Johor Bahru by their grandparents, waiting to be reunited with their parents.
Late last month, the Malaysian politician assisted nine children from eight families to return to their parents in Singapore with the help from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) and the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
Apart from ICA arranging transportation for the children, the officers also helped to carry their luggage to ensure that the customs clearance could be completed smoothly.
This time around, Liow shared that she assisted four groups of children who travelled from Johor Bahru, Ipoh, Muar and Kluang.
“During the waiting process, I can’t help but talk about their hometowns, and occasionally feel the sentimental parting of grandparents and grandchildren,” she said. However, Liow shares that she also feels gratified that the children are able to return to their parents.
Families face different challenges from before
In her post, Liow noted that the challenges people now face in travelling back and forth between Malaysia and Singapore are unlike the past.
Clearing the customs in the past — from traffic jams to snaking queues — are a stark contrast to the empty customs nowadays.
The challenge now is having to deal with complicated application and approval procedures in applying for a travel pass.
“With every task, we are faced with different challenges which are by no means smooth as we have imagined. But seeing the smiles of parents and their children, we felt it was worth it,” wrote Liow.
This article was first published in theAsianparent.