10 Things About East Malaysia I Would Like To Remind My Friends About

I'm from Sabah and this is your guide to East Malaysia 101.

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1. You should have visited Sabah or Sarawak by now. We've come across so many West Malaysians who have never been here. Trust us, it's beautiful. Mountains, islands, caves, rainforests, we've got it.

Sipadan island in Sabah.

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Mulu Caves in Sarawak.

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2. Mount Kinabalu is not the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia. Nope, it's not! It's actually the fifth tallest mountain with the Hkakabo Razi in Myanmar being the tallest.

Mount Kinabalu stands at 4,095 metres, the Hkakabo Razi stands at 5,881 metres.

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3. Interracial marriages are common. Different beliefs and cultures but still same-same. Most of them have halal and non-halal kitchens to cater for people who have different beliefs, no biggie.

Different beliefs and cultures but still same-same. Most of their houses have a halal and a non-halal kitchen. No biggie.

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4. Sabah and Sarawak formed Malaysia together with Malaya as countries, not states. Open up and dust your "Sejarah" books, peeps. That's how Malaysia Day was born, on 16 September 1963!

5. East Malaysian girls are really pretty. Perhaps you've known this by now. See the Sumandaks (Sabahan term for pretty girls) for yourself!

The Unduk Ngadao, an annual beauty pageant amongst the Kadazan-Dusun community in Sabah.

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6. We also love to party. We have lots of festivals. The Sabahans have the Pesta Ka'amatan and the Sarawakians have the Hari Gawai. Both celebrate the annual harvest and are filled with dancing, drinks and fun!

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7. There are many instances where West Malaysians mistakenly say, "Welcome to Malaysia" once we enter Peninsular Malaysia. There's really no need for that.

8. We love your food. Of course, we have our own special delicacies too like Kuching Laksa, and fresh Sabahan seafood but we really love your "nasi lemak" and your "char kway teow".

Kuching Laksa in Sarawak. Look at those prawns!

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The fresh seafood in the Philippines market in Sabah.

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9. In Sabah, having the term "bin" or "binti" in a name does not mean that they practice a certain faith. It was given by the British to classify both male and female natives.

A person may look Chinese but he or she may be a mix of Kadazan-Dusun, Bajau and a hint of Iban.

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10. No, we don't all live in longhouses. We may be surrounded by lush rainforests but we also "maju bah!". See our buildings, shopping malls and towns.

A view of Kuching city, Sarawak.

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A view of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

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