Sarawak community spirit inspires peninsula visitors
SANTUBONG: First time visitors to the state who were attending a community integration programme, were surprised at how closeknit Sarawakians are.
With more than 40 ethnic groups living in an area almost as big as Peninsular Malaysia, it came as a surprise to the programme participants.
"I am surprised at how closeknit Sarawakians are. It seems that everyone we meet here are genuinely Sarawakians as they are not segregated by their different racial background," said Gurdev Singh, 45, from Pahang.
Gurdev was among 78 programme participants who are community leaders and members of non-governmental organisations from throughout the country on a six-day visit to Sarawak.
Their visit is in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak celebration to give them exposure to the people in Sarawak.
The participants stayed in Kampung Santubong and were given the opportunity to interact and work with the villagers here.
"I am impressed with how enthusiastic Sarawakians are when it comes to community activity.
"This is something which you can't see much in the peninsula," said Gurdev.
Another first-time visitor is Alice Cornwell Neowcharurn, 23, who is a Malaysian of Siamese decent.
"You can't really tell who is who here. In the peninsula, you can single out any Malay, Chinese and Indian on the street, while over here everyone walks and interacts as Sarawakians.
"It seems that the only race here is Sarawakians," she said.
Meanwhile, one of the participants, Zahrah Attan, 59, a frequent traveller to Sarawak, said she had always liked the state as the people here were truly where the real concept of 1Malaysia is about.
"I am from Johor. I can never equate what I see and experience here to what it is like in the peninsula," she said.
"I think people in the peninsula must come here and see how Sarawakians can interact in harmony, despite having more than 40 ethnic groups living in the state."