‘I could not be apart from my grandparents.’

“My parents came to Sabah when I was 8 months old. Life was hard in Java, most of the jobs were not suitable for my parents. They came to Sabah and worked in a restaurant. I stayed in Java with my grandparents. I was brought to Sabah when I was 2 years old, for a month, but I did not stay long. I could not be apart from my grandparents. I cried a lot. So I went back to Java.

My mother came to visit me in Java every two years. I never wanted to come to Sabah. But in the end, I was forced to come here, because I was naughty. I didn’t have my parents to guide me in Java. I got into fights, I always came home late, and played football on the streets at night.

I was not happy when I came here. I ran from my house and everyone had to look for me. I had a lot of friends in Java.

My grandfather died in 2012. He was old. If I’m not mistaken, he was around 80 years old. I miss my grandmother, but she is too scared to go on a plane. I speak to her on the phone.

I want to go back to Indonesia to continue my schooling. My parents agree. They are planning to open a shop there. They don’t want to stay here anymore.”

Din, 14, Javanese