27 Jul 2016 - 3 min read
Borneo Sabah —I call it my next door neighbor. That’s because I grew up in Borneo Sarawak. I’ve been to Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan —just once, but I can still remember the experience vividly. I thought I knew so much about Sabah after my first visit. Boy was I wrong. There are still some things I still didn’t know about this lush, enchanting state. Stuff you probably didn’t know about either...
I’ve heard the locals calling it “Land Beneath the Wind”, but I never knew why until recently. Apparently, Sabah got its nickname from its location, which is below Southeast Asia’s typhoon and monsoon belt. What does that mean? It means that it’s protected from these natural occurrences, allowing wildlife to thrive all year round.
Okay, first of all, I call myself a big ‘Survivor’ fan, but apparently, not big enough since I didn’t know that the first season took place in Pulau Tiga, Sabah! I remember watching it when I was just 13! Now that I know it was actually shot there, I’d love to watch the series again, so I can see what may have changed over the years, especially to Pulau Tiga.
I was here once with my university classmates. It was a good experience for us as it was our first time seeing Orangutans. I remember two Orangutan in particular — Anwar and Richard. Richard is big and he looks ferocious, while Anwar is a bit smaller in size. The rangers advised us to be careful should we come across them, especially Richard. Although gentle in nature, we tend to forget these animals belong in the wild.
The center was set up in 1964 – and it’s in fact the first official sanctuary for Orangutan in the world. Amazing. I’m glad I chose to visit this place as it offered a glimpse into the lives of these intelligent apes. They were shy and many of them preferred to not come in contact with visitors like us. We were only able to see them from afar. Watching them eat their bananas for lunch was rather entertaining — curious and friendly, the orangutans have shown me how similar they are to us after all.
Cute to a few of us (while some may consider it ugly), the Tarsier can be found in the islands of Southeast Asia. I remember seeing one for the very first time in the encyclopedia my mother had bought for me when I was just a little girl. The Tarsier’s face was all it took to make me curious. I've always wanted to see it! And yet, I had no idea that it also lives in the Sabah rainforest.
Did you know that the first Tarsier study began in Sabah? Researchers first studied the species through a young male Tarsier named Jamil. In Arabic, it means ‘handsome’. Well, I hope I’ll come across one whenever I return to Sabah again. I’ll have to enter the jungle of course.
So which ones of these facts do you already know about? If you have more interesting facts about Sabah (which I probably don’t know of yet), kindly share them in the comments below!
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Boleh bah kalau kau! :)