KK, as it is affectionately known, is the state capital of Sabah Malaysia. The city itself has a population of just over 450 thousand. It is a major tourist destination – although I must admit, I had never heard of it before this trip. It is also a major industrial and commercial centre in East Malaysia and one of the fastest growing cities in Malaysia. The city is relatively new because at the end of the war (1940s), the Japanese had almost totally destroyed the old city.
I was on a tour to learn Tribal Culture and City Highlights. We drove through a heavily forested area to the Mari Mari Cultural Village where we learned the old ways of the five tribes who live in the area. There are five major tribes – Dusan – look like Chinese and are the farmers & traders, Bajan – 99% Islam and they are fishermen, Murut – were the headhunters, Rungus – known for their bead work, Lundayan – people of the river. This was the land of the headhunters until it was banned by the British in the late 1800s, and they also believe in spirits, and that every living thing has a spirit.
Schooling is complusory and free. If your marks are good enough you can go on to University. There are private schools also, and those who can afford it go to Canada, Australia, US and UK. to finish their schooling. Land and homes are handed down to the son in the family. The girls are very carefully chaperoned and move to live with their husband’s family when they marry.
KK’s history has been colourful with power changing hands from British to Japanese and back to British and then finally to the people of the land. It is a very diverse city and the population is made up of Malays, Chinese and some 32 ethnic groups.