I wasn’t detained at the airport.

Apparently, the Pontianak folk consider me harmless.

The useless information you pick up along the way.

‘They harvest organs,’ says Mal. ‘Just be careful.’

Now I bet you can guess what area I’m talking about.

‘They target young girls,’ continues Mal, who works at the 7-11 and gives me the low down where I can buy black market cigarettes. Borneo is Borneo, it’s not mainland Malaysia. There’s a distinct taste in its demeanor you won’t find on the peninsula.

The large island is infused with a Borneo spirit that’s not hard to miss. I even got a number of the sweet Muslim thing at the Taxi stand. She likes texting in English and I suggested we try and before I could say ‘amen’ she handed over her number in nice handwriting.

But I got a foul look from her male colleague. Or was it a look of ‘well done’? You never know in this part of the world where what you think and expect could be very contrary to it. Like getting a phone number off a hot Muslim chick. I was even chatting up the Air Asia sales lady, a big Malay woman who was giving me eyes after I bombarded her with questions of flights and prices.

Maybe Borneo is a well-kept secret. Maybe they don’t want us to know that Malaysia, or at least part of it, can still play chilled.

‘But just be very careful if you go to Semporna in Sabah,’ says Mel, who thinks I’ll love the snorkeling there, or the hot Sabah chicks, or perhaps even both.

A few islands north is the base of the Philippine terrorist group, Abu Sayyaf. Fuck, the Australian government should give them visas. They’ll be washing dishes and earning big bucks and thoughts of kidnapping young girls and rich Chinese Malaysian and cashed up Western tourists will be an ‘old’ thought.

‘But have army patrolling the pristine beaches,’ he says, ‘but still must be careful.’

Thanks for the tip-off buddy.



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