Malay cemetery at Pending gets a facelift thanks to volunteers
By Danielle Sendou Ringgit
On my way to ICOM Square on the left at Jalan Datuk Abang Abdul Rahim at Pending, I had never noticed that there was a graveyard by the roadside even though I must have driven down this road countless time before.
With bushes creeping over the fences, hiding the area from the sight of passersby and grass growing up to the waist, it’s easy to see how no one could have known that Kampung Periuk’s Muslim cemetery was there.
Although it may not be visible to strangers, it does not stop relatives with loved ones buried there from visiting every now and again.
Having lived at Kampong Sungai Periuk (which is about eight kilometers from the graveyard) all his life, Isa Ali said that it had always been there.
“I do not know exactly how old this grave site is, but I am sure it is more than 50 years old,” said the 51-year-old.
Some of his elder relatives have been buried there, although now most villagers prefer burying their dead in Samariang.
According to Isa, the previous caretaker, Abang Buang had passed away a little more than a year ago, leaving the graveyard with nobody to carry on his task.
“When he was the caretaker, he would came here twice a month to clear up the area. But now, we have not had anyone to take care of it for a year, although the villagers do come to the graveyard to clear the area during Ramadan,” said Isa.
As of now, the villagers are still looking for a new caretaker to take care of the cemetery.
Upon learning that there was no one left to take care of the place since Abang Buang passed away, Kelab Motard Kuching (KMK) member Zairul Razali suggested a ‘gotong-royong’ to his fellow members on May 1.
“My grandmother is buried here…she passed away two years ago,” said Zairul.
This escalated into a collaboration with LC Crew Sarawak (LCCS), Legal Street Car Club (LSCS) and Myvi Borneo, gathering a total 40 volunteers for the cleanup.
With their grass cutters and ‘parangs’, the motor club members worked hand in hand with the villagers to complete their task, clearing the overgrown grass and getting rid of the bushes that once hid the graveyard from sight.
With the sun high up in the sky and heat blazing in the morning, all of them were sweating profusely and panting due to the heat, but none showed any signs of quitting, only stopping once in a while to rehydrate.
By the time the gotong-royong was completed sometime around two in the afternoon, the fences had been clear of creeping plants and the waist high grass was perfectly trimmed, making the tombstones visible again.
With the time, energy and dedication by the good Samaritans, the graveyard now looks clear and well kept, making all the hard work and effort worth it.