Wow, it was nearly three years ago and it's still in my inbox. How time flies!
Here's a copy of that letter:
I'm writing in response to Lonely Sabahan's article,. Please Listen to Sabahan Voice
The writer echoes my sentiment, totally. I am also a Sabahan, moonlighting in KL. Often times, I came across with not only prejudicial sentiments but also the common assumption of Sabah being a backward place. I personally experienced one incident which had totally left me feeling flabbergasted. I was riding a cab going to work when this cab driver asked me about where I came from. I dully answered that I'm a Sabahan. Upon reaching my workplace, I was about to reach for my wallet (for the required fare) when he suddenly asked me: Miss, can I have Sabah currency? I was totally taken aback and to say that my jaw went slack off was a total understatement! I quickly clarified to this cab driver: Uncle, Sabah is a part of Malaysia too. We're Malaysian and we use the Ringgit currency too. To which he replied: "ohhh" I am at loss of word because, looking at the cab driver, he didn't look like someone who is totally clueless. His English was quite good, albeit spoken in Manglish (Malaysian English)
My point is: How far behind are we in terms of development? It doesn't take some rocket scientists to figure that out. Even some of the moderately educated people of West Malaysia have this 'cocktail mixed up of geographical and nationalism facts' muddled in their heads. As the only Sabahan in my workplace, it's a normal occurrence. Some of them think that KK is in Sarawak and I have to remind them all the time that 'no, you got that wrong. KK is Sabah's capital while Kuching is Sarawak's.
Yes, it's an undisputed fact that Sabah is painfully lagging in terms of job employment opportunities. Oh, there are jobs but given the fact that most of them offered with relatively low paychecks! This of course, as we all know, has prompted the young generations (including myself) to make a cross over to WM to seek greener pastures. However, it's still come out as a rude shock, well at least to me. Living in the metropolitan city of KL is a stressful affair. The high rates of rental properties combined with equally high living expenses tend to slash a huge chunk off your monthly salary. After settling the basic living expenses necessities, where does that leave us? Yes, it's depressing...
That's why, after spending 6 odd years in KL, I now have finally came to a decision of leaving KL for good. It has been a 6-year long of stressful living, at least for me. The euphoric feelings when I first set my feet here have now dulled to a 'been-there-done-that' feeling. However, having said that, I do not mean to discourage young people to try out their luck in WM. After all, some of them are young, fresh and newly graduated and what choice do they have in Sabah? Employment is a big issue here. Our 'home' is still, most parts are underdeveloped whereas, young generations crave for job stabilities. The only logical choice is to cross the South China Sea.
As for me, goodbye WM. I came to KL as a young adult, but I'm coming back to my beloved Sabah a matured person. I had my fill of metropolitan life, learned to be independent, collected some valuable lessons in life and now I'm proud to say that all the city glitters have simply failed to compete with the 'black-outs' cities, towns and kampungs of Sabah. It will be hard to start over again but I will cross the bridge when I reach it.
The Wandering Sumandak
Note: At a million years ago, this humble blog of mine was named thewanderingsumandak.blogspot.com. Well, since I'm not a restless vagabond anymore, I had long since changed it to enniebelle :-)
Reading this copy of letter, I could't help but felt a bit nostalgic. I left behind some treasured friends and bittersweet memories behind, amidst the wild concrete jungles of KL. But, I'm happy to say that I've made peace with my old wandering soul.