Do You Speak Bahasa Malaysia the Sabah Version?

Hakka Connection

A whiteboard serves as menu for the coffee shop in Sabah: kopi ping, teh si ping, lemon ping, lemon teh ping, kit chai ping...

Apart from adopting the Hakkas' way of addressing a young lady as " Ah moi", "ping" has become an accepted term for iced drinks in all coffee shops.

Need a spoon? Just yell," Ah moi, sikang!"'s your kopi ping? Ngam ngam manisnya.

English Connection

Even very old ladies refer to school as "sikul" and refrigerator as " aisboks" and even " aisbuks", out of their red-stained lips that pepetually chew betel nuts. Why do you think a crazy person is described as "sot"? There must have been a "short circuit" inside his brain. Legacy of the British and their missionaries.

Telling Apart A Sabahan

*A distinctive influence of the largest ethnic group Kadazandusun is the incorporation of " Bah" into Bahasa Malaysia. So if you hear:

" IyaBAH" instead of "Yalah"

"BAH, jalan dulu." instead of " Pakcik, minta diri dulu."

"BAH!" instead of " Baiklah!"

Most probably you meet a Malaysian from " the land below the wind". Wan however, prefers to turn this cliche' into " land of Bah".


----------------Scenario 1--------------------

Tauke : Ah moi, bawa air sijuk pigi meja satu.

Waitress : ( Spilt water on the table )

Tauke : Silaka! Sudah berapa kali saya bilang hati-hati? Mimang tidak ada hati kerja. Bisuk jangan datang!


If you are not a Sabahan, you need to refer to this table:

sijuk pigi silaka mimang bisuk
sejuk pergi celaka memang esok

What do you notice? The vowel "e" in Bahasa Malaysia baku is read as "i". Sabahans has yet another way of dealing with "e".

------------------Scenario 2---------------------------

Anu : Tauke, kamarin mana kau tapuk?

Tauke : Saya pigi tamu bali krabau.

Anu : Minta puji! Mana ada bali krabau. Bali tarap, sia parcayalah.


What happen to "e"? Yes, it has become "a"!

kamrin bali krabau tarap tambirang
kelmarin beli kerbau terap tebirang

In some cases, "e" is completely left out:

"Jangan kau brani tlefon sia lmpas pukul lapan."

"Siapa tapuk slipar aku di bawa krusi?"triak bos.

brani tlefon slipar krusi triak
berani telefon selipar kerusi teriak

What happen to "o"? Just look at : bula, urang, buduh and munyit. Then replace "u" with "o" and you get...Bahasa Malaysia baku. :)

Easy Going

Yes, it is easy to learn Bahasa Malaysia the Sabah version as most Sabahan folks are easy going. In fact, Bahasa Malaysia is surpassing many native vernacular languages in popularity here!

List of Other Helpful Sabahan Words

ping ice tapuk hide
anu so-and-so minta puji show off
ngam ngam just right limpas past
bilang say bos father
tamu local market cincai easy going
sikang spoon sia me

Bahasa Cocos

Called Cocos Malay is spoken by the Cocos Malay community found mainly near Tawau and Lahad Datu. To Understand Cocos Malay, you need to know the meaning of creole - which is a language that has developed from a mixture of different languages and has become the main language in a particular area. Cocos Malay is a mixture of Malay, Chinese, English, Javanese and Dutch - without literary tradition. Wow...more hebat than our bahasa Rojak.

I wonder how many of you will start connecting Cocos Malay with coconuts. You are right ...first of all they are descendants of Malay people being employed by European estate owners to assist in the harvesting of coconuts for copra...where? On Cocos islands!

As early as 1826, Malays from Bali, Bima, Celebes, Madura, Sumbawa, Timor, Sumatra, Pasir-Kutai, Malacca, Penang, Batavia and Cerebon, were gradually brought to this group of horse shoe-shape tiny islands located on the external territory of Australia in the eastern Indian Ocean. Within one generation of settlement, these Malays achieved an 'identity of their own'. They preserved their language, culture and majority, their faith to Sunni Islam. They also absorbed certain western flavours into their culture. For example, they dance a type of Scottish Reel in colourful costumes.

After World War II, some of the Cocos Malays 're-immigrated' to their homeland, namely Sabah. They reside primarily in Kampung Cocos near Lahad Datu and are accorded bumiputra status by the federal government. It is estimated there are about 4000 of them in Sabah which is far more than the few hundred of the Cocos Malays who remain on the Cocos islands.


Top of Sabah


Berkabung untuk MH370 & MH17

Google translate says "sapi" is "cow".  OMG!!! Of course, we Sabahans know that our " Sapi Island" is NOT "Cow Island"....

Tamparuli, bridge and bamboo music

A Meh Handicraft Exhibition in Kota Kinabalu

Where does this "ndak" habit come from?  Is it the Kedayans?

alternative image text