Hornbill Unleashed

October 7, 2013

“Same same”, yet Sarawak and Kalimantan are miles apart

Sun setting over Kapuas RiverApang

It was some two decades ago when I first visited Pontianak in Kalimantan Barat, or Kalbar as Indonesians call it. Kalimantan is administratively, and perhaps politically, carved into five regions: Kalimantan Barat, Tengah Utara, Selatan and Timor.

Sarawak and Kalimantan share the island of Borneo, partitioned by the British and Dutch colonial occupiers. The division is not only physical in nature, but has socio-cultural and political consequences, felt until today.

One must refer to these historical facts and the subsequent divergent ideological and political leanings of both countries over our shared history, to attempt to answer the question “I wonder why the Indonesian and Malaysian states continue to have flare-ups now and then over supposed border disputes, and over the mistreatment of migrant workers in Malaysia.” (more…)

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