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7 things about Kuala Lumpur that baffle Sabahans

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About 3 years ago, I was in a job interview for a position that I thought was going to be in my hometown of Kota Kinabalu. The interview was going smooth, until one of them asked me: “Would you be able to work in KL?”

Part of me then didn’t think that I had any real reason to go to KL because my friends and family were in KK, and I barely knew anyone in KL. But my interviewer made it sound like a challenge. So…

Photo from http://ericdye.it/

Few weeks later, I got the job and was told to go over in about two weeks. With barely enough time to make accommodation arrangements, say my goodbyes and pack up, everything went by as quickly as I had said “Yes”. Next thing I knew I was on a plane to KUALA LUMPUR, imagining how my new life there would be daisies and rainbows like this Siti Nurhaliza song

Then I arrived, and needless to say, there were plenty of culture-shock moments. 

Apart from the traffic jams and the very very misleading road signs, the fast paced life, the demanding people and colleagues, and the high maintenance girls, KL was just a different place than I’d imagined it would be. Even after 3 years here, I may have learned to accept some things, but there will always be things that I will never understand from my Sabahan breeding. So let’s start from the beginning…

 

1. “Welcome to MALAYSIA?!”

Photo from http://www.juergensbernd.de/

Photo from http://www.juergensbernd.de/

Shortly after landing at LCCT (still remember that place or not?), I took a taxi and had my first conversation with a presumably KL-ite, judging from his accent, that went something like this:

Uncle Taxi: Mau peerghi mane?

Shy Sabah Boy: Eee….*show address on handpon*

Uncle Taxi: Ohh…u orang mane?

Shy Sabah Boy:  Oo…sia orang Sabah..

Uncle Taxi: Oo…Sabah. First time mari ke Malaysia?

First time… mari ke… Malaysia?

I was dumbfounded. I had to check if I was still holding a Malaysian passport (oklah, I actually used my IC to travel here). So why did I just get welcomed by a fellow Malaysian to my own country that I have never left?

Maybe this uncle taxi was pulling a prank on me feigning ignorance, but when I started telling this joke to other Sabahans who have traveled to KL, they told me they had similar experiences too.

Even our state Tourism Minister pun kena during #SabahQuake

Screencap from Datuk Masidi Manjun's Twitter.

Screencap from Datuk Masidi Manjun’s Twitter.

Why is this happening? As KL-ites like to say, entah. As far as I can remember during my Sejarah class, Malaysia was formed when Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore joined into a federation on 16 September 1963. So unless our friendly folks in KL missed the memo, Sabahans are also Malaysians bah!

And this ‘welcoming’ to Malaysia doesn’t just end at the airport. The longer we ‘stay’ in Malaysia, the more absurd the question becomes. Like being asked how long we’ve ‘been in Malaysia’, or what currency do we use in Sabah.

But oklah, maybe the concept of an East Malaysia is too big for them, which brings me to my next item…

 

2. People can never tell Sabah from Sarawak

Photo from http://www.busonlineticket.com/.

Photo from http://www.busonlineticket.com/.

So I started my job and eventually some colleagues would try to be friendly and talk to me as if they knew all about my home-state and home town. But I would get conversations like this:

Colleague: I’m going to Kuching to climb the mountain.

Me: Oh, cool, which mountain?

Colleague: That one lah! The Mount Kota Kinabalu.

Me: But Kuching is in Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu is in Sabah…

Colleague: Never mind wan! Just nearby mah! Can drive from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu.

Me: Bulih bah kalao kau!

Let me get this off my chest first…

Nah, Captain Pichard sudah marah. Photo from http://makeameme.org/

Nah, Captain Pichard sudah marah. Photo from http://makeameme.org/

Also, my hometown is not on top of a mountain! (Though that would be totally cool….before the earthquake)

Oklah, I can understand the mix-up if you took Sejarah instead of Geografi for your SPM (but then you shouldn’t be welcoming me to Malaysia either). I would probably make the same mistake by assuming that Kota Bharu is in Johor Bharu. Except that if you had look at the East Malaysia map lately, you would realise that my colleague was just a little off la between Kuching and Kota Kinabalu….by 1,127.4 kilometers (and you have to pass through Brunei. Twice!). As reference, the road distance from KL to Bangkok is about 1,400 km, so you would definitely be within Thai territory if you drove the same distance from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu.

Never minding that some KL-ites don’t know which state capital belongs to which state (then you need to ask how the CILISOS editor-in-chief remembers!), but when you start mistaking that Kadazans are from Sarawak, and Ibans are from Sabah, then you really are minta-ing to have your head kana pancung (by either one of us)!

P/S: Even CILISOS editor-in-chief has gotten it wrong…

Editors-shame

… but now he remembers it using the long-short;short-long tip: “SABAH is short, KOTA KINABALU is long; SARAWAK is long, KUCHING is short!” 

 

3. The accent… and the slangs!

Click for full tutorial. Photo from http://www.khabarkinabalu.com/.

Click for full tutorial. Photo from http://www.khabarkinabalu.com/.

I admit la, we Sabahans speak a Bahasa that is a little different than everyone else (some say influenced by our neighbouring Indo). Not everyone is going to get what it means to ‘bubut’ someone, or what is ‘limpas’ when asking for directions, or getting caught with our ‘celana’ down, or why it’s totally appropriate to smack a child’s ‘pantat’ for being naughty (it means a different body part in Sabah and everyone has the same one).

Strangely though, when I’m speaking Bahasa in KL, I get commented for speaking it too ‘proper’.

But when it’s my turn to listen to how the locals here speak it, I start to wonder if the Bahasa that I learned in school is really the same one that my cikgu taught me.

All the ‘a’s become ‘e’s (Ye keh? Mane ade!), and we have to remove all the ‘Saya’s, ‘Aku’s, ‘Engkau’s and ‘Awak’s from our memory because it has apparently been removed from the national vocabulary. Betul! I tak tipu you!

Photo from http://makeameme.org/

Photo from http://makeameme.org/

But after a while it’s not hard to grasp what they are actually saying when you understand that they are actually short forms of one word or another. But that doesn’t apply to everything. For example, for the longest time since I’ve been here, I’ve never been able to guess what was the original word for ‘kot’ was, and why I always get stood up by people when they say they are coming, kot.

 

4. The Indians…

Photo from http://makeameme.org/

Photo from http://makeameme.org/

Not that I want to try and sound racist la, but it was quite intimidating when I first saw a group of Indians on the streets of KL.

Yeah, I said it. A group. What? You thought I was going to say Indians?

It was more out of fascination than fear, but sighting more than one Indian on such a normal occasion really sinks in the fact that I am are not in Sabah anymore.

Ui, jangan temberang bah! Surely got Indians also in Sabah too…

Ada, but Indians are a real minority in Sabah. According to the 2010 census, they make up 0.3% (rounded up) of the state’s population. So hypothetically, for every 100 people in Sabah, we only see 1/3 of an Indian. That’s how rare they are, and I think I can only name less than 5 Indian friends (oklah, one of them is half Ceylonese) that I made before I came to KL.

Photo from http://makeameme.org/

Photo from http://makeameme.org/

So don’t blame us for being surprised when we see more than one macha in every corner of KL. And I’ve just used up my entire Tamil vocabulary.

But we still have cool Indians, though. Like this guy, and he can tell you how confusing it is to be a Sabah Indian.

5. Why on earth is race is sooooooo important?

Photo from https://secondphase.files.wordpress.com

Oi! Mana tu sumandak? Photo from https://secondphase.files.wordpress.com

This is often the first and strangest questions that I get asked. Usually after a very scrutinising scan of evil eyes.

I don’t know what makes a Chinese in Sabah look any different than our kin in KL, but it amuses the heck out of me to see the shocked faces when I tell them that I’m a 100% Chinese.

But after a while, the novelty wears off and it’s actually quite sandi (that’s sedih in Bahasa Sabah) when I start thinking how my mixed blood Sabahans have to answer this question. Not to mention the confused looks they get if their answer don’t fall in one of the three that the KL-ites are expecting.

NAH, BACA:
5 things I learned upon migrating to Malaysia from India

But why are KL-ites so boxed in about races in this multi-racial country? And why do people care about your race more than your name, or where are you from?

Truth be told after some observations and personal experience, I can see that there is a practical side of knowing what race you belong to. It’s like carrying a membership card to an exclusive club around here. Once you are identified belonging to one club, you are almost by nature put in your place with rules to observe. You cannot mix with those from other clubs. You can only eat on the same table with those of the same club. And you must speak the ‘secret’ language of your club so that the other clubs won’t know you are conspiring against them.

Ok, maybe we are not always plotting Game of Thrones style against those not of the same race, but seeing how tables at the mamak or food court are organised by skin colour, is both a fascinating and depressing sight to see as a Sabahan. Just what is so taboo about having friends outside our racial circle? This way of thinking is so ingrained in the KL social culture that even if I tried reaching out, I am met with indifferent cold stares like: “What this fella trying to sell me?”.

And there’s a dark side to this. Racism here is used as a shorthand to find fault on things, instead of looking closer at it. For example, instead of blaming someone for their flaws to their person, we generalise that it is found in the race. To be honest, it is a very tempting way of thinking because it lets us put the blame on someone else and I have seen Sabahan friends adopting it here, partly because they have been fed with the Dark Side but partly because of convenience. Even if I’m not judging them, what’s to say they are not judging me?

Back home, we have 32 ethnic groups (I actually had to check this because I loss count) and if we had easily dismissed each other at a glance of someone’s skin colour, then we would have a relationship map that even George R.R Martin cannot fathom. #stopmakingGoTreferences

But I think the real reason why we never bothered with one’s race is because interracial marriages are so common in Sabah and it has been going on for generations until it doesn’t matter who or WHAT we marry anymore or what kids do we have. Everyone has a little something of something in their blood, and the only reason why I managed to stay ‘pure’ is because my parents aren’t originally from Sabah.

But if my horny ancestors back then were not allowed to take a liking to the native sumandaks, we wouldn’t get these beautiful hybrids, as this song illustrates…

6. Oh, the religious extremism…

Photo from http://www.therakyatpost.com/

Another day, another Muslim in a church. Photo from http://www.therakyatpost.com/

Now let’s get a little serious. If we can’t understand why race is already a dividing issue here, then religion only just makes things worse.

As a Sabahan, we just don’t get this ‘us vs. them’ mentality that some NGOs here are strongly advocating. When these groups start playing the victim card of how their religion is being under siege by something as innocent as hanging a cross, or printing a certain word that gets used in the publication of a different religion, it leaves us partly riled up, and partly scratching our heads.

Ok, maybe those are extreme cases la. But even the conservatism and the abstinence of interacting with non-Muslims is a little puzzling to us sometimes. Back home, we are used to eating in the same shop with our Muslim compatriots.

Heck, even halal and non-halal stalls are opened in the same shop so long as the halal dishes and the non-halal dishes are kept separate. We have to freedom to choose if we want a hot bowl of soto or a juicy dish of ngiu chap for breakfast. But once we are over here, Muslims avoid entering an establishment without the Halal sign like it were the gates of Hell itself.

The thing is, again because of interracial marriages and because we have been living like this for generations, religion also gets thrown in the mix too. Same members of the extended families can have different religion and we’re fine with that. The key is as long as we learn to respect each other. Remember the thing that used to be beaten into us as children so that we don’t grow up to be jerks? RESPECT.

In fact, religious mingling is not a problem for us, but it is something that is celebrated.

 

7. The Mystical House of Sabahans

Yes. Those are skulls hanging. Photo from http://upload.wikimedia.org/

Yes. Those are skulls hanging. Photo from http://upload.wikimedia.org/

But the most baffling thing that I’ve heard is that we Sabahans like to look down on everyone. Yeah. True. We look down on everyone because apparently we live up on trees. TREES!

I don’t know where this stereotype originated from, and it’s not like our old photos show that we live on trees. Maybe it came as an afterthought when an embarrassed parent in the 60s couldn’t explain to their children what Sabah was like…

“Where do Sabahans live?”

“Haiya….why ask so much questions? Ermm…..they live in the jungle so they must live on trees lah!”

Well, let me give you a tour of the average Sabah house….

Sorry. Wrong house. Here we go…

Ready?

Photo from http://imganuncios.mitula.net/

Photo from http://imganuncios.mitula.net/

Shocking right? Who knew that Sabahans liked living on the ground as much as the next person who likes standing on it with two feet.

But jokes aside, Sabah actually has a thriving property sector and that is not always a good thing for us. For one, our property prices are rocketing so high to outer space levels that our pittance of a salary can only look up and gaze at it like the stars.

No kidding. This survey in 2015 (latest info, yo!) even tells us that our affordability rate is the lowest in the country. KL and Penang pun kalah, ok? So don’t come complaining to us that you can’t afford a home here, when it’s easier for us to buy a house in KL than in our own backyard.

Getting back to us living on trees because we live in the jungle, it must have germinated into the mass consciousness that makes KL-ites have some odd assumptions. Because of that assumption, we get treated like sakais like as if we have never seen civilization. So once in a while, we get these odd questions:

“Got cars a in Sabah?” We got an excess of four-wheel drives.

“Got malls ka in Sabah?” Too many and more coming….

But this is a pure classic:

“How did you come to Malaysia? By sampan?”

Truth is, sometimes we don’t know if we should feel embarrassed for being asked these questions or for the ones asking us these questions. You have tall twin towers, but you never knew that there would not be an AirAsia, if there was no Sabah.

 

So why lah?

So why la, Malaysia? Next time before we kutuk about other countries, ask yourself if you have hugged a Sabahan lately. It actually kinda hurts when we get treated as a foreigner in our own country.

In fact, if we don’t put on the band-aid on the wounds, our own negative perceptions of West Malaysians (maybe CILISOS will let me do another article on this?) is only going to grow and fester. More so, when you start pushing our buttons with stunts like this. If this keeps going, it will make us believe more and more that the general consensus you have about us is that we are just hicks from the far side of the country that you didn’t know existed, with nothing to offer *cough*exceptOil*cough*. Ahem!

How about just visiting Sabah and see it for yourself? No need to go to Bali for islands, or Nepal for mountains (just don’t pose naked on sacred ground la). In Chinese we say Sabah ‘got mountain, got water’…(but don’t forget the jungles, the orang utans, and the sweet sweet sumandaks too!)

Photo from https://c4.staticflickr.com

Nah. Literally got mountain, got water. Cantik bah kan? Photo from https://c4.staticflickr.com

But the best part about visiting Sabah is meeting the people la. We’ve embraced 1Malaysia-ness long before it even became the slogan of Najib’s administration (siapa main tiru-tiru ni?). In the end, wouldn’t it be perfect if we were all just treated equally and got along happily?

38 Comments

  1. Hizzad Bin Dinno

    21/08/2015 at 4:59 pm

    They say the women get cuter the more deeper inland you go… its said in the middle of Borneo
    Island, there is a mystical city inaccessible by boat, car, helo or airplane
    only by foot can you get there. In that city, the most beautiful ladies who have
    ever walked the earth go about their daily business and quibble about the rising prices of everyday goods like anywhere else, just they do it looking more fabulous than anyone else.

  2. Daniel Krishnan

    18/08/2015 at 10:20 pm

    Wait a minute… I’m half Ceylonese from KK. :O

  3. Aramia Mage

    18/08/2015 at 8:26 pm

    I’m KL born and never been to Sabah/Sarawak but my wife is Sabahan and I have to admit that I like Sabah people more than KL people. However all the points don’t really apply to me even before I met my wife 9 years ago, as I consider myself good in Geography as well as understanding people around the world, not just in Malaysia. The points are mostly applicable to ignorant people, regardless of their level of education. Unfortunately a lot of KL people are ignorant (because they are busy ‘finding money’), which is also why I dislike KL people.

  4. doowaroda

    17/08/2015 at 10:43 am

    I am a pretty “ignorant” Semenanjung person, although not to the level that’s described in the article! I was a bad history student, but I still know the basics and only really appreciated the diversity of Malaysia until a visit to Sabah!

    The level of ignorance experienced in this article, I find horrifying. I only visited KK recently enroute to climb Mt Kinabalu, but only then did I realize how obnoxious some of West Malaysians can appear. I kept getting comments on how strange it was for a KL-ite to be travelling without a big group or tour guide. We were indeed surrounding by many large groups travelling together from Semenanjung. Only solo or small group dwellers were from overseas.

    I had never been referred to as an “orang Semenanjung” before. I lived in another major city overseas for a few years. I think there are parallels everywhere to how the “big city” or mainland folk treat/perceive smaller town or island dwellers and vice versa. Anyway, we learn so much about places far and wide, but know so little about those close to us.

  5. Ennie

    17/08/2015 at 9:30 am

    The things about mixing up Sabah/Sarawak and getting asked for Sabah currency? No shit..I’ve experienced it myself. If I wanted to go balik kampung, my colleagues would say: bila lagi mau balik Malaysia? I was like, OMFG! I was conflicted on how to answer that question. Sometimes, I’d be like senyum, mata kebil2 buat blur only. It’s not about stupidity but ignorance. Some ppl don’t or never take the initiative to learn about the cultures of their Malaysian counterparts.
    P/s: The next time we EM land in KLIA or any airports in Malaysia, let’s wear a “going-outside-of-SabahSarawak-t-shirt” with these words written on the front: I’m from Sabah/Sarawak, the eastern most part of Malaysia. Saya anak Malaysia.

  6. seiho ryo

    17/08/2015 at 7:32 am

    I was born in johor but i grew up in labuan. Well, until remove class.
    I never really felt sabah or sarawak is any different during my childhood until i back to johor.
    Its really a sad thing to read this article though the writer make it sounds easy.
    But i would say its due to lack of understanding. Said to say (i have no intention to be “p”) this is wat they want west malaysian to be (lack of understanding not just to em, but diff races in wm so we never be united).
    Why travel to em need show ic? Last time u even need a passport! Wth is u “g” doing?

  7. Iwondery

    16/08/2015 at 10:35 pm

    I think only old people from, at most, the generation of the first decade following Malayan independence still think of Sabah and Sarawak as someplace far from Malaysia. It can’t be helped though; they’d still probably remember Borneo events like the Brooke family abandoning Sarawak, or Jesselton (find out what this is), or the Sandakan death march, or the formation of Malaysia, like it had just happened yesterday.
    But I still have one nagging question in mind involving Sabahans (and Sarawakians too):
    7. Why are almost all the girls there are kinda shortish and cute?
    Kthxbai.

  8. Aliya Sarinja

    16/08/2015 at 1:51 pm

    Entah la. Maybe kawan2 anda semua tu jenis yg tak sekolah kot. Saya org KL. Tp dari zaman sekolah dulu saya dah tahu tentang Sabah Sarawak. Saya tahu rumah2 di borneo sama mcm di semenanjung. Saya tahu di borneo ada bandar dan juga kampung. Saya tahu tentang bahasa. Saya tahu perbezaan sabah sarawak. Kawan2 saya semua pun sama. Even sampai skrg pun, semua orang yang saya kenal tahu serba serbi tentang sabah sarawak. Takdelah bodoh sangat yang mcm author cerita. Kalau kami jumpa orang borneo, kami hanya akan cakap “oh awak dari sabah/sarawak.? ok.” and then go on with usual stuff.

    Kalau anda semua berjumpa dengan orang semenanjung yang tanya soalan2 bodoh, harap bawak bersabar dan cerita kat mereka tentang keadaan sebenar di borneo. tunjuk gambar2. educate mereka. so that they know. so that the cycle will stop.

    • Ennie

      17/08/2015 at 9:44 am

      It happened. I’ve experienced it myself. Even students dari semenanjung yg datang nak belajar di Universiti awam di Sabah/Sarawak ada yg ingat nak kena naik sampan pergi Sabah/Sarawak. Ada pula tu yg bertanya adakah malls di KK, ada McD or KFC kah juga. I know, because I’m working in one, so macam2 karenah freshman dari semenanjung saya dah lalui. I mean, come on, zaman cyber begini, masih lagi malas nak ambil tahu hal2 dan budaya negeri-negeri di Malaysia. Ada buku, surat khabar, TV, radio, the internet…it’s just within your reach. How much more educations we SHOULD give to these ignorant ppl? Rasanya perkara ni berlaku sebab mereka malas dan tidak mahu keluar dari kepompong masing2. Mcm katak bawah tempurung. Hanya ambil tau pasal benda2 di lingkungan tempat tinggal dia sahaja, only mixing up with their own kinds.

  9. meto

    16/08/2015 at 10:30 am

    I never have the experienced of Kl ite welcoming me to Malaysia. All Malayan people that I’ve meet know where Sabah is. And all of them which i’ve meet never mention of us sabahan living on trees. They think we sabahan are rich peoples because of timber industry. That was in 1980’s. Yes the only culture shock i experienced is dialect and culture differences. And seeing a lot of indian peoples.

  10. nowa

    16/08/2015 at 8:40 am

    hahaha….ni experience saya time study d kl duuuuuluuuu..
    1- bila kena tanya ‘awk tinggal atas pokok ke? and i replied ‘ ya..atas pokok, mo panjat pokok, kami naik lif..pgi sblh jiran2 pokok, kami pkai helikopter..setiap pokok mesti ada 1 tempat landing helikopter!!! Wat da fish btul
    2- bila diorng start ejek tiru2 cakap sabah.. i replied ‘sabahans not talk like indons in sinetron petang2 main d TV3 tu…n again…wat da fish btul…bila sa balas balik cakap kelantan…they said ‘macam org siam ko cakap’….sa balas balik..’macam tu la klu org LUAR cakap sabah’…

    3-ada one day tu, sa bawa kawan2 dri KL dtg2 cuti2 d sabah.. they said…org sabah kaya2 kan…semua pakai 4 wheel drive, hilux,D-max,harrier,4×4,FJ cruiser,…naaahh..baru ko tau kami kaya…kottoo..cuma hammer ja ndak kasi tunjuk sama ko lagi….
    4-ni pengalaman naik airasia…naik kapal kan ndak buli bwa outside food…tpi sa bawa jgk beger McD spicy chicken deluxe masuk naik kapal…when the time mo makan..ni stewardess tegur ndak buli makan…so i said..’jadi, mo makan di luar ka ni?’..haha….sorry stewardess..lapar btul bh time tu…
    #’sweet” memoryla-kono

    • kskjoapriljune

      16/08/2015 at 10:47 am

      hahahahaha….. mesti terkejut 2 stewardes ko kasi ckp “mo makan di luar ka “

    • nowa

      17/08/2015 at 12:28 pm

      haha…nasib dia ndk sruh makan d luar btul2.

    • azmi

      16/08/2015 at 11:51 pm

      I dont think we have 4by4 because we’re rich, we have to, because the roads are.. well… not in a good shape…..I thought we Sabahan were supposed to be “screaming out” that we are a poor state/(country?) because developments are focused here?….

  11. krypt0n

    16/08/2015 at 4:18 am

    Org2 sabah pun ada stereotype pasal semenanjung bh, hahaha.. before I came to study in Selangor, I thought ALL the places in semenanjung were crowded with tall buildings and skyscrapers, etc. – which I later found, was not necessarily the case. Also before, when a person said they were from semenanjung – didn’t matter which state – I would immediately picture the petronas twin towers (perhaps just like they would imagine Mt. Kinabalu when we say we’re from Sabah). Then there are also the elderly who refers to every place in semenanjung as ‘KL’. Sikit2 pigi KL kunun.. org pigi selangor pun dia bilang KL, org pg melaka pun dia bilang KL jgk. Other than that, I also used to feel that semenanjung is a very ‘dangerous’ place, since the majority of crimes appearing in news cover mostly those in semenanjung than in Sabah/Sarawak. That made me extremely cautious when I first set foot here.

    • Wilson Chang

      24/08/2015 at 10:14 pm

      Yeap…true so true…i noticed some people staying far towards klang oso call their place kl…not their fault…maybe bcoz klang valley covers a wide area..but if i go to sarawak and tell people im from ampang…they will scratch their head thinkin where the hell man…padahal ampang is at the border of selangor-kl…and jalan ampang links them up…and every morning when i open my window…that pair of jagung is in my view…these tall buildings make me feel bad and sorry when i visit east malaysia…where r ur tall buildings? Nice highways? Big malls? Fast trains?….all we have in kl can be urs…coz the oil and worthy natural resources are from the east…we shud share it equally…kuching and kk must be developed equally as kl…i really hope this day will come in my life time!

  12. Genin Tan CK

    16/08/2015 at 3:17 am

    so how much actually house freehold double-storey terrace near town area(not inside town area).

    • Vianny San

      01/09/2015 at 11:55 pm

      200k to 300k

  13. Mia Ramlee

    16/08/2015 at 3:04 am

    Oh, I was asked once whether we used the same currency in Sabah. Since the person asking looked so sincere and innocent when asking it, I forgave her and said, “Iya, sama sejak”. What I can’t get over is the ‘welcome to Malaysia’ or ‘bila balik Malaysia nanti….’ part.

  14. Mia Ramlee

    16/08/2015 at 2:36 am

    I totally get you. I went through the same experience, was asked the same baffling questions and it took me some time to get over my surprise/shock/wonder/fascination (I felt them all, one way or another) to seeing sooo many Indians at one place at the same time. But being an open-minded Sabahan, I befriended whoever wanted to be a friend minus the snobs and those who acted hoity-toity. Ahhh! suddenly I’m missing Suganthi and Saradha.

  15. Kelly Yong

    16/08/2015 at 12:18 am

    Haha. I Sabahan ya~ remember 5 years ago when just started study at kl. My classmates asked me where’d i live. I told them i live on tress~ there is a river behind my house. And i got a pet name coco & dile (crocodile) they got a friend name Donald (duck) they live tgt. After heard what i said, their face expression are priceless. After few months only they found out i was fooling around with them!

  16. Shahrizan Ferouz

    15/08/2015 at 11:06 pm

    Wow thanks for the love Cilisos. Got tagged a few times today haha.

  17. Azzy

    15/08/2015 at 11:04 pm

    I dunno if you guys realise but the guy who corrected the editor is the same Sabahan-Indian guy in the comedy youtube video that’s linked. 🙂

    • Shahrizan Ferouz

      15/08/2015 at 11:08 pm

      Yes ME!.. haha

  18. azmi

    15/08/2015 at 9:40 pm

    usually the ones asking how long have you been in malaysia are old people…. who never got into the whole we are 1malaysia thingy

  19. Proudly Malaysian

    15/08/2015 at 7:47 pm

    Hi all,
    All argument is well and valid, in fact I am (west) Malaysian staying in Sabah for more than 6 years and counting, and of course loving every inch of this wonderful land and all their 32 ethnic groups!

    Though I would like to point out professionally that fellow West Malaysian coming in to Sarawak / Sabah are equally treated like “foreigner” in their own country, whereby we are issued a limited stay journey pass (essentially a printed piece of paper) describing how short we are allowed to remain in Sabah / Sarawak before we are deemed “illegal immigrant” by immigration here.

    Like it or not this rule makes many Peninsula Malaysian, if not all, feel inferior when visiting. Many ask this WHY question, and many of their sarawakian and sabahan friends don’t seem to be able to give a satisfactory answer.

    I make this comment while perfectly understand that this special immigration right was granted (and probably guaranteed by the Federal Constitution) at the time of Malaysia Independent when Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaysia on 16 Sept 1963, in large part to guarantee better employment opportunity for its (Sabah and Sarawak state) own people, but as we journey towards Wawasan 2020 to achieve “developed nation” status that is just around the corner, it’s time we re-look into these half century old laws and amend accordingly.

    Mind everyone that Sabahan / Sarawakian do not have to pass through any immigration counter at landing in any West Malaysia Airport.

    P.S : This opinion is entirely my own, and not meant to offend anyone.

  20. Waimin Wong

    15/08/2015 at 7:20 pm

    Neither Sabahan nor Sarawakian here, born in KL. But I spent about 10 years living in Sarawak during my teenage years so I totally get what you are saying.
    #1. We don’t use KL slang at home so when we got back to west M’sia, we had a little trouble getting used to it again. We can speak other Malay slangs, just not KL’s ‘lepeh’ slang. We still don’t use it ?
    #2. Experienced a little culture shock when I came back to Semenanjung because there are so many Indians! ? I only know of only 1 (one) back when I was in Sarawak, and she’s mixed.
    #3. Race and religion issue are big stuff here. For me it’s because the people, while mostly more educated academically, has a lot more to work on in terms of racial harmony. So whenever issues like this got publicised (political reasons perhaps) they just go amok. Sad, really.
    #4. In Sarawak I can eat in a non-Muslim owned restaurant because there are Muslim-owned stalls. Perhaps the same can be practised here? I think this contributes a lot to racial harmony. Here we only have mamak. Not everyone likes to eat mamak food frequently.
    #5. When I first enrolled in a Uni here, someone DID ask me how the house-on-trees look like. Everyone else laughed at the question, even those from west M’sia.
    #6. Conclusion: RACIAL HARMONY. That is what’s missing here. We can pretend there’s harmony in front of foreigners, but truth is we are quite divided (except when disaster strikes. Hope shines brightly then). Also more mixed marriage, which is scientifically proven to produce better generations ?

    #end_rant

  21. Arinah Arin

    15/08/2015 at 4:29 pm

    Somebody finally said it! Hahaha. It really is depressing and I’m getting sick and tired of answering all the stupid and ignorance questions. I even had a debate with my Malaya friend about this. The funny and disgraceful thing is he was trying to tell me about my own homeland like I don’t know it like the back of my hand. I even asked him if we really reading the same “buku text” at school. I have been expose to Malaya people ever since I was young (went to school at navy base) and that give me the advantage to learn their slang and when I told them I’m from Sabah, they would asked me why I dont have a sabahan slang. Like seriously, they wouldn’t even understand what I’m saying if I did. If they keep on treating us like we’re from a different country, don’t blame the sabahan and sarawakian if we wanted to split from malaysia. Apa ko rasa kalau org buat ko begitu? Kan? Hehehe

  22. Edward Lye

    15/08/2015 at 4:06 pm

    My mum hails from Kudat which gives me some locus standi. Since the RAHMAN is soon ending, how about a campaign to get the next PM from Sabah?

  23. MeNa Kun

    15/08/2015 at 1:21 pm

    Im not a Sabahan. But as a fellow Sarawakian… I feel you. The struggle is real. The most outrageous thing I ever heard from a fellow KL-ite:-

    ME: Oh. im going back to Kuching this weekend.
    Friend: Do you still have a home to go back to?

    *To be honest… i was actually offended. What do you mean i dont have a home?*

    ME: Yes. i do have a home.
    Friend: I thought you’re a refugee?

    *The earthquake in KK just recently happened at the time*

    I wasnt very happy and i just walked away. KL-ites, if you are reading this, refugees and disaster victims aren’t the same thing.

    • Koh Yin

      15/08/2015 at 10:58 pm

      Ada satu kali tu sa pigi bili charsiew pau di kadai cina tapi saya kan nda buli cakap cina so itu perempuan cina kl singkung2 dlm kantonis sama tu loukung dia: ini amoi melayu mo bili charsiew pau.

      Terus sa reply: saya bukan melayu la. Dia jawab: klu ko bukan melayu kanapa ko tia cakap cina? Saya: ko ingat di malaysia ada cina sama melayu saja ka? Klu mo bili pau mesti ckp cina ka? So racist!

      ××

      Klu org tanya how long have you been in Malaysia saya jawab: Since my country joined the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu on Sept 16 to become Malaysia.

  24. Sunitha Rachel

    15/08/2015 at 12:32 pm

    Oh my gosh! Totally can relate and it really breaks my heart how people berpuak puak. Am totally missing the environment where i totally forgot im a mixed Indian, we just know that just as how our ancestors had learned to coexist, the generations after that did not have to do anything because they had set the path for us: Confession of a confused Sabahan being in KL :'(

    • Casey Lee

      15/08/2015 at 1:11 pm

      I know what you mean! It’s so easy to get suck in to the way races interact with each other here! But when I go home, my faith in humanity is restored!

  25. David F T Chong

    15/08/2015 at 7:27 am

    After some 28 years living in KL, every time i tell people thta i am from Sabah, they will still ask when did i come to Malaysia! And that, unfortunately, is the truth.

    • Casey Lee

      15/08/2015 at 1:09 pm

      Malaya has only just remembered there was a Malaysia Day about 5 years ago….give them some time. Strangely though, I wondered why Sabah celebrated Malaysia Day as TYT Birthday all these years.

    • Wabbit

      15/08/2015 at 3:38 pm

      Coz it’s really our ex TYT punya birthday ma wakakaka

    • Shereen

      16/08/2015 at 9:02 am

      I’m a sarawakian.. But was working in kl for a long time. Mula2 kerja everyday kena sindir.. ada makan sup biawak ka? Bila datang msia?.. named it lah… but then I start to get irritated… So I jwb.. jangan main2 dengan org sarawak ok.. kalau badan kita tak berisi kita x pergi negri orang.. jgn terkejut nnt muntah darah… (sbh n swk apparently byk bomoh) LOL. My isi is just pure lemak… but no more sindir after that..just whisper 2

    • kskjoapriljune

      16/08/2015 at 10:51 am

      Heard about the bomoh one countless of times >_<

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