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Malaysian People
Welcome To Kuching
The Capital City of Sarawak, Malaysia


Kuching People

       There's around 16 million people living in the whole of Malaysia, so there's no general rule how they are! Kuching people in general are very friendly and you can always ask them for help.
       There are a variety of races and religions mixed in Kuching. From the Malays (the Muslims, 21% in Sarawak), to the Dayak ! descendants from the native tribes, like the Bidayuh (around 8%), the Iban (also known as the "sea dayaks"; around 550,000, or 30% of all Sarawakians), the Orang Ulu, or the Kayan ! to the Ethnic Chinese (which also have different groups ! like Haka, Hokkien, Foochow, Teochew, Henghua, Mandarin or Cantonese), to a few expatriates from German, Britain, or Australia.








        Mostly any religion is tolerated in Malaysia, even though it's officially a Muslim/ Islam state. Many people are Muslims (the Malays), or Christian (the Dayak, like Iban and Bidayuh, as well as most Chinese), or Buddhist and Taoist (the Chinese). There are also some Indians, who are Hindu.






        The main celebration days/ holidays are: Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (end of ramadam, for muslims). Then there's Chinese New Year (end of January, with bigger fireworks than New Year, which is the "normal" end of December). Officially, fireworks are not allowed, but no one seems to care.
        And end of May there's Gawai for the Iban and Bidayuh. In September, try some cake with egg on the Chinese Mooncake festival.




Speaking in Kuching

        There are so many languages and dialects it can be quite confusing. You get around with English though, so don't despair. Even if strictly speaking English, if you're a "westerner", people won't be afraid to call you an Angmo in your presence ! "Angmo" ! "White Ghost" (or "English guy", wether you're from England or not).

        The main languages in Kuching (and other parts of Malaysia/ Sarawak) are BM (Bahasa Melayu, the official Malay language), Iban (which is close to BM, but not the same), Bidayuh (which has completely different languages for different "Kampungs", villages), to Chinese (the most popular Chinese dialect in Kuching being Hokkien), to English.

        The Malaysian English (or "Manglish") is not just common British English, but a "refined" version. For example people will often add a "lah" to the end of a sentence, like "Ya Lah" (meaning "Yes"). Or "No Lah" (meaning "No"). Or "Don't know lah!". Another specialty are sentences using "can" and "can not". "Can" in BM means "Boleh" and is also a frequently used word. So "can or not?" is a common phrase (you can simply answer with "Boleh lah!"). Also popular: "Is it?", "Don't want!" ("doe-want"), and "What to do?".