Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Perceptions of Sarawak (Sabah) by West Malaysians

Now please bear in mind that this is written by a West Malaysians aka orang Malaya aka lepeh...

Been reading on Facebook of the various questions West Malaysians ask about Sarawak/Sarawakians. This is perhaps due to the increase of use of Facebook by the local universities and its staff and students and the coming new intake in September, where many West Malaysians will be coming to Sarawak for the first time. Hence some incredulous questions have been asked on FB, which begs the question as to whether the author of the question even thought that as he/she was writing his/her questions on FB.. wouldn't there be electricity in Sarawak...connected to computers with Internet so that someone in Sarawak can see their comments/questions and answer back?
A few years into my stay in Sarawak, I had business contacts asking me whether there was fax machines in Sarawak (while calling me on a handphone.. haiz).. so this is nothing new to me.

The question is why till now, in 2012, there is this perception that Sarawakians are living in trees, wearing 'cawat' (loincloth), travel in sampans (small boats), and all in all still stuck in the Iron (or is it Bronze) Age, but use handphones (sounds similar to an advertisement for Sarawak Tourism that I saw before, now maybe thats one of the reasons why they still think Sarawakians live in the Bronze Age).

My suggestion to potential students at UNIMAS or anyone else wanting to come to Sarawak, please go and visit our website or our Facebook site and have a look at the modern campus that we have. Have a look at the facilities.. from bowling to even our own stadium, world class teaching facilities and medical clinic. I would suggest that you also search for guides or on Google Image. You will see that Kuching City (even though smaller than Kuala Lumpur) is a city with all the relevant amenities as required of a city.

Nevertheless Kuching and Sarawak is different from West Malaysia. Very different. There are fewer Malays here and even the Malays here speak a different Malay language. There are a variety of native groups. English is spoken widely..perhaps now less with the younger age group. People are more tolerant than in the West. Sarawak is a good place to be.

But come for yourself and see. If you are a bigot and a racist, nothing will change your mind (based on some of the comments and questions asked).. but if you come here with an open mind, willing to interact with others of different race and religion, share in the lifestyle.. I believe you will enjoy your stay here. I know I did and still do.. been here for years and have no plans to leave.


1 comment:

k_shyong said...

Well said. My time at Unimas and Kuching were some of the happiest. Very different culture and food.

Kuching is a whole lot cleaner than a lot of cities here in the Peninsula too!.

Once, someone poor soul asked if there were prepaid cards available at East Malaysia - in a serious tone. My friend sarcastically replied "No, you better buy a whole stack and bring it over la"...


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