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Jakarta Post

Belakang Padang Island 'soothes longing hearts'

  • by Kharishar Khafi Hotli Simanjuntak
Jakarta   /   Mon, October 13 2008   /  11:40 am

A wooden boat carries passengers from Belakang Padang Island to Batam Island. In this picture, skyscrapers in Singapore can be seen in the distance. (JP/Fadli) If not separated by an ocean, Singapore's skyscrapers could be part of Belakang Padang Island. But due to the seven-mile expanse of water, Belakang Padang has a totally different landscape from that of Singapore: They are as different as night and day. "We used to take a wooden boat to Singapore. No passport was required. We sold fish and they paid in dollars, not rupiah," said Wak Haji Jantan, 65, a resident of Belakang Padang, recalling his heyday as a transboundary trader. In the past, people from Belakang Padang could easily travel back and forth to Singapore to sell their products and purchase low-priced electronic goods. Many of them also worked in Singapore. But strict security...