Be it cultural, social or political, there has always been some sort of disconnect between Malaya and the Bornean states across the South China Sea. It is like a truce between colliding worlds that remains uneasy even after almost half a century of nationhood.

We have different languages, food, history – even dreams and aspirations. And yet we are the same in so many ways.

This week from April 25 to May 1, follow the ONLY BLAWG as Adrian Chew presents Stories from the East, an anthology of stories written by Malaysians from both sides of the sea; some looking in from the outside and some offering their views from the inside, about all things Sabah and Sarawak.

Amongst the notable pieces are those by columnist Dina Zaman who kick-starts the series with her thoughts on understanding Sarawak as an Orang Semenanjung followed by a deeper study of what makes Sarawak tick politically in a two-parter by political analyst Dr Ong Kian Ming who gives an insider’s account of life on the campaign trail in the recently concluded Sarawak state election. Other articles by lawyers and pupils, social workers and teachers all show the many facets of life in Sabah and Sarawak, ranging from the problem of stateless children in Sabah to the life of a teacher providing education deep in the rural areas of Sarawak.

We’ll also study the mathematics behind the election system that we have, ponder upon the beautiful culture of acceptance that is the trademark of race relations in East Malaysia, find humour and much truth in why it makes more sense to be a lawyer in Kota Kinabalu than in Kuala Lumpur.

These stories and many more will all be showcased this coming week, as we rediscover the bonds that bind us and believe once more how truly unique our nation is because of its people. And these stories are essentially that.

These are stories about us … from different places.

Adrian Chew is a lawyer, writer and TMI columnist. A member of the LoyarBurok masthead, he also leads the crack editorial team behind the "Monkeysuit Protocol" column for August Man Magazine. He is an...

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