Being a Sabahan and Sarawakian in Semenanjung, these are the questions we usually receive when we are either travelling, studying or working here. As a Sabahan myself, I have to agree that these questions are quite common but that doesn’t mean when we know 10 people, all 10 people will ask us these questions. Maybe around 1 or 2 people once in a month? This is just the stereotype of how semenanjung perceived us, not the truth! There are a lot of amazing people out there!

1. How did you come to Malaysia?

Oh you’re from Sabah? How did you come from Sabah to Malaysia?


Okay…. Let’s be positive. Some times, this is just the conversation starter, so don’t be quick to assume anything harsh….until they ask….. Naik sampan ke?


Well… This is when you start..


I personally only receive this question 3 times but you can always choose to say yes or no, the decision falls on you but if you do say yes, then don’t be angry when someone else ask if you use sampan!

Another famous question is, how do you travel in Sabah & Sarawak? Do you have cars? Or do you use sampan?


That’s me every time someone ask me this question and yes, people actually believe so. I really hope those who received this question before will set the fact straight! Yes, we do use boats such as ferry or speedboat to reach certain areas and also to reach some rural and unreachable places but Sabah & Sarawak do have cars! We even have Grab & Uber.

2. “Tinggal di Pokok”

One of the most common question is where do we live? Tree house? Long house?


WHY!!! WHY!!! WHY!!! It reach to the point, I would just agree and said yes, we actually do but I don’t actually think it is the right thing to say. We should try to correct this stereotype and explain that yes, some people do but live in long house.. Not tree house.. but that some people is probably 1/10 of the whole Borneo?

3. What do you eat?

It is very common for Semenanjung to come to Borneo for the seafood but some actually ask me before, so what do you eat? Seafood? Pork? Traditional food? Urrrrmmmmmmmm…

We do LOVE our traditional food and our seafood, but we do eat chicken, beef, pork (well if you’re non-muslim) but basically what we eat is similar to what you are eating as well! That includes Starbucks, Big Apple and even the infamous Hokkaido Cheese Cake.

There’s one thing we don’t eat tho! We don’t eat heads.


4. We talk like Indonesian

How many did someone speak to you in Indonesian slang? Me? I lost count hahaha. I appreciate the thought but most of the time I am just annoyed because I CANNOT UNDERSTAND INDON.

Let me show you the different between Jakarta slang and Sabahan slang with this video

Not only that, we really appreciate it when you try to make us comfortable by speaking Sabahan but there’s a fine line between speaking like a Sabahan or mocking the way we speak. Let me show you another video from Adam as well on how to use “Bah.”

5. Pretty Borneo Girls

There is no denying that Sabah and Sarawak has a number of pretty girls because there are a lot of mix blood marriage. I can give you a few examples,

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Getting ready for tonight. #unupko

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This is how we do it 🙂

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Well I guess the stereotype is correct! Borneo girls are pretty! BUT! That doesn’t mean you can expect all the girls to be pretty and put down those who do not live up to your standard.

Sabahan and Sarawakian reading this, tell me, is it true that you received these questions before? Or heard these stories from your friends? Comment and share if it’s true!

Others that are reading and disagree with these, I am sorry but all these came from my personal experience and as I said earlier, this happen maybe around 1 or 2 times a month? Or less? No hard feelings!


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