Fact: Most people from the Peninsular don't know nuts about Sabah and Sarawak, AND they always, always can't differentiate between the two states - just like your sirih sucking nenek at your kampung who thinks the whole peninsular is just one big long state made up of that big, evil city that makes their children who goes there to study or work adopt that cringe worthy Semenanjung accent when they come back, called Kuala Lumpur.
I'm not saying ALL Peninsular people are ignorant. 'Most' refers to the group who have never met Borneo people, what more befriending them and those who never drop by for budget cuti-cuti. Hence the total, utterly annoying ignorance.
I'm also not here to bash the Peninsular people - heck, KL is awesome and so are my Peninsular friends.
But this is just something that I've seen and experienced throughout my stay on the 'other side', and the things that irked me. And of course, just to clear up a few misconceptions.
First of all, Sabah and Sarawak ARE TWO DIFFERENT STATES. Yes, the two states plus Brunei and Kalimantan makes Borneo, but nevertheless, THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT STATES. You might think I'm insulting their intelligence, but really, there ARE people who can't tell the difference.
And one of those people is my own Masters degree holder TESL lecturer. She's our tutor, so she's supposed to be like a mum to us. Even after almost six years being under her wing, every time we came back from our holidays, she'd always ask me, "How's your flight from Sarawak?" At one point I'd just answer her, "My flight from Kuching was okay."
And there's one time that made me really wonder whether she is blonde under that sparkly tudung of hers. We were gonna have a Raya party, and bring food from home.
And no surprise there when she asked me, "Amanda, can you bring those kek lapis Sarawak?" And I answered her, "But we don't have kek lapis Sarawak in Sabah."
"You don't?" she asked, looking genuinely shocked.
"But I thought it's the same?" she asked, sounded slightly disappointed.
"See, Sabah and Sarawak are two different states?" I said with hand gestures to clarify my point.
I waited for her to blast me with the you-think-I-don't-know-that come back.
She just said, "Oh."
Another thing that annoys me is that, when Peninsular people found out that I'm Sabahan, they'd ask me, "Naik belon ke datang sini?"
I wish I could tell them, no, saya naik kapal terbang, because only the Sarawakians refer airplane as belon.
And sometimes I just feel like punching their teeth into their skulls.
Secondly, our Sabahan accented Bahasa Melayu DOESN'T SOUND LIKE THE INDONESIAN LANGUAGE. AND NO, I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE ACTORS ARE TALKING ABOUT IN AN INDONESIAN MOVIE WITHOUT READING THE ENGLISH SUBS. I have nothing against the Indonesians, heck, they are people of nation too just like us, but since they make up more than 80% of the rough labor force here, and sometimes they do things that are illegal here causing an unintentional prejudice against them, it is insulting when the Peninsular people keep insisting that we do sound like Indonesians. We fucking don't.
Besides that, there are real idiots out there who think we still live on trees and wear barks and leaves to cover our privates. Seriously?
An ex-roomate didn't think I still live on trees, but she did think I live in a long house. I said I stay in a terrace house. And she made a really surprised face. What the what.
Another thing that they always get confused is our status as Bumiputeras. People have asked me before, "Do the Bumiputeras back at Sabah fast during fasting month too?". "Uh, yeah, those who are Muslims do." "So they are those who don't fast?" Duh. It is one concept they can't grasp - that they are Bumiputeras who are non-Muslims. Lots of 'em, in Sabah and Sarawak. They just couldn't fathom that.
I guess you can't really hate them for their misconceptions. They're just...uninformed? You can only be irritated by their purely innocent ignorance.
And oh, radio lady commentating about the Pesta Kaamatan? It's pronounced as it is spelled. Stop saying KEAMATAN. Can't you read?