Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sarawak, Malaysia

Ok, I got the idea from Ana - to have a specific thread on the Postcrossing forum to ask for swaps for postcards from my favourites. It's been so much fun (even if I was quite overwhelmed at first because SO many people offered to swap!) and I've received lots of beautiful postcards as a result. Why didn't I try that earlier?! :P Anyway, this is one of the cards I've received from that little 'project'; a lovely view from Malaysia. Thank you so much, Aileen!

On this card you can see a typical Melanau village at Kampung Tillian near Mukah. The Melanau, traditionally fishermen and sago growers, built their houses on or near rivers to allow easy access to the sea and effortless transport of sago logs.

Sarawak, then, is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang ("Land of the Hornbills"), Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the north-east.

The administrative capital is Kuching, which has a population of 579,900. Major cities and towns include Miri (pop. 263,000), Sibu (pop. 254,000) and Bintulu (pop. 176,800). As of the last census (2010), the state population was 2,420,009. Sarawak has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language, culture and lifestyle. Cities and larger towns are populated predominantly by Malays, Melanaus, Chinese, Indians and a smaller percentage of Ibans and Bidayuhs who have migrated from their home-villages for employment reasons. Generally, Sarawak has seven major ethnic groups namely Iban, Chinese, Malay, Bidayuh, Melanau, Orang Ulu and 'others'. Several more minor ethnics which do not belong to any of these seven major ethnic groups are Kedayan, Javanese, Bugis, Murut and Indian. Unlike Indonesia, the term Dayak is not officially used to address Sarawakian's native ethnicity.

Sarawak has an abundance of natural resources. LNG and petroleum have provided the mainstay of the Malaysia federal government's economy for decades while State of Sarawak only get a 5% royalty from it. Sarawak is also one of the world's largest exporters of tropical hardwood timber and is the major contributor to Malaysian exports.

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