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COMMENT | How inspiring! Sabah stays true to unity in diversity

COMMENT | One thing that I miss during this pandemic period is that I haven’t been to one of my favourite states in Malaysia, Sabah, for so long. For the last 10 years, I have been going to Sabah annually, usually for the Borneo Eco Film Festival and the Suara Filmmaking Workshop series which aims to train local Sabahan civil society organisations in video storytelling.

It is always a pleasure to be in Sabah. The landscape is beautiful and diverse (beaches, islands and mountains), the wildlife is inspiring (just head on to Kinabatangan), the food is good (one word - ngiu chap!) and the people are just so pleasant. Of course, the best part is the people of Sabah.

We constantly talk about Malaysia being a multicultural and multireligious society that is able to find a balance that works, yet it doesn’t feel that way. We are a society that actually tolerates each others’ differences.

Even then, quite barely. In politics alone, we are currently being administered by an almost all Malay-Muslim government.

In the community, there are also many instances where we just tolerate each other. So many Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indians, and Malaysian Malays are living almost homogenous lives where they don’t really interact with other races aside from just surface relationships that need to happen.

Check ourselves and see if we actually have deep relationships with those of other races and religions. Do you have best friends from other races? And I mean real best friends and not just a neighbour you just greet ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in the mornings...

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