Intro


After spending a fair amount of time in Borneo recently, I debated several ideas for portfolios here. "Hypermalls of Kalimantan" certainly has potential, as does "Starbucks Baristas of Sarawak". (Anyone who thinks I'm joking hasn't been to Borneo, or at least hasn't been lately.) In the end I decided to go with something a little more traditional: a small series of mostly candid portraits of people of Sabah.

Sabah, the Malaysian state that occupies the northern tip of Borneo, has come to be my favorite part of this huge island. It's relatively compact and easily travelled, features some spectacular scenery (notably Mt. Kinabalu, a sight that exceeds almost any expectation), and is home to a endlessly diverse population. They include bumiputra Malays; indigenous Kadazan-Dusuns, who are mostly Christian; Moros, Suluks, and numerous other Muslim groups historically centered on the Sulu Archipelago; ethnic Chinese, mainly Hakka; and a wide variety of immigrants, particularly Filipinos and Indonesians. They speak dozens of languages, but English will take you most places and basic Malay will cover the rest.

These photos were taken in September 2014 in the port towns of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, and Semporna.

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