Friday, August 23

Sarawakians revel in diversity, peace and progress

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There are many things about Sarawak that sets it apart from the other states in Malaysia and one of them is the public holiday today when Sarawakians observe Sarawak Day.

But what is Sarawak Day for the man on the street? What does being a Sarawakian actually mean?

Last week, The Borneo Post posed these questions to several Sarawakians and here’s what they said:

Hani Nur Zaihanirah, 26, from Limbang. (Her father is a mix of Hakka and Malay from Brunei, while her mother is Foochow and Bisaya):

“Both my immediate and extended family are a mixture of Muslims, Buddhist and Catholic. We do not make each other do things we could not or should not do in our respective religions; we really enjoy each others company. It is alright to be different because differences create diversity and that diversity is what makes the world so colourful.”

 

 

 

Karambir Singh, 57, Miri Indian Association (MIA) president:

“All of us must collectively make strong efforts to always preserve and enhance the positive features of Sarawak. I am indeed very happy and deem it an honour and duty as a Sarawakian to be able to contribute to Sarawak through my educational, political and non-governmental organisations’ activities.”

 

 

 

 

Temenggong Abdul Rahman Fadzail, 76, Miri Malay paramount chief:

“I stay true to the Malay proverb ‘Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung’. We need to respect leaders of the day like our current Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg. When there is respect, it will make not
only my work easier as a grassroots leader, but also
that of the Chief Minister in uniting the people and together, bring greater progress for the country and Sarawak in particular.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yong King Sung, 52, accountant

“I was born and raised in Sarawak. I am deeply passionate and loyal to this land of Sarawak.”

 

 

 

 

Jimmy De Rozario, 53, University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) senior manager

“To be a Sarawakian, to me means living in harmony by acknowledging and accepting the differences we have as a multiracial state. We live harmoniously in Sarawak and we are united and we help each other like one big happy family. It is our duty as Sarawakian to make the state proud. Apart from that, Sarawak is politically and economically stable and as Sarawakians we should be thankful for what Sarawak has.”

 

 

Kendrick Angus Tho Wen Hua, 16, Riam Road Secondary School student:

“Truthfully I’m glad that being Sarawakian has taught me to accept everyone for who they are and not categorise or judge us humans by race or religion. We are one, we are united. Together all visions will be possible. With the support of my family and the wonderful society around me, I have been able to produce the world’s first ball python morph ‘super enchi banana spider’ and also
many more rare species of animals into my collection. This hobby has enabled me to cultivate friendships
throughout the world. It has taught how much we can learn from one another.”

 

 

 

Awang Arafat , 38, self-employed:

“Many languages spoken by Sarawakians here are different from each other, yet we have lived in harmony. I feel happy because not many states or other countries are like Sarawak. I still consider Sarawak as the best, despite my travels to other places. The different
ethnic groups and races coexisting with one another – this never ceases to amaze me.”

 

 

 

 

 

Lau Hoh Long, 60, retired businessman:

“People who celebrate Sarawak Day must know the meaning behind the celebration. If they just follow the celebration blindly, they will fall for the trap of the politicians. The onus therefore is on Sarawakians themselves to look deeper into the meaning of the celebration, whether the occasion is indeed worth celebrating.”

 

 

 

Norinie Wasli, 44, civil servant:

“Aside from co-existing with people of different ethnic groups, races and religion, we Sarawakians are friendly and graceful by nature. We have managed to maintain unity in diversity among our people despite the fast-paced development that the world is currently facing.”

 

 

 

 

Ursula Goh, 82, former world president of the Associated Countrywomen of the World (ACWW) and advisor of the Sarawak Federation of Women’s Institute:

“Sarawak is the biggest state in Malaysia. The vast population comes from diverse background but lives in peace, harmony, is united, and strong. To be able to survive in peace, harmony, it is important to embrace ‘one people, one nation’. Diversity is its strength.”

 

 

 

 

Awang Adam Awang Apek, 63, retired chef from Sri Aman:

“I stayed in Johor for 15 years and in Brunei for 20 years and it is safe to say that I have not seen this kind of unity in any other country or state beside Sarawak. Over here, we have no issue with regards to racism. I am blessed to be able to celebrate Sarawak Day.”

 

 

 

 

Caroline Guna, 46, entrepreneur:  

“The long-established harmony among its multi-racial community makes life more meaningful. It enables the state to woo more tourists and investors to come and help develop Sarawak so that it could achieve its vision of becoming the richest and most developed state in Malaysia by 2030.

 

 

 

 

Chew Siok Cheng, 49, Methodist Pilley Institute (MPI) Sibu lecturer:

“Sarawak teaches a valuable lesson in respect, friendliness and hospitality. Whenever I go back to Kuching, I love to get close to nature. If I have visitors in Kuching, especially from overseas, I will bring them to Semenggoh and I will bring them to try local food because in Sarawak, we have so much diversity in terms of food.”

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Tan, 28, sales executive:

“I feel Sarawak Day is just another day. Of course, the biggest difference is it is a holiday which mean so much to me. To me, I feel that Sarawakians are fortunate and should be grateful that we have a stable government of the day.”

 

 

 

 

 

Khalik Senak, 36, Sarawak Digital Entrepreneur Community Cooperative chairman:

“Sarawak indigenous peoples, you are heroes for your people. Ask yourselves what you already did for Sarawak. Everything starts froma yourselves. Stay harmonious and together we grow in making Sarawak as inventors in the ICT industry and not just users.”