Of Surviving Switzerland

June 22, 2017

Coming from Dusun background - a tribe instituted in North Borneo where the ancestors work as full-time farmers during the day, part-time tapai or local rice wine Quality Controller most evenings and professional headhunters during weekends, I can say that my people are of the simplest and the humblest, with inborn warrior prowess on standby mode in case provoked.

"They have a custom of killing people in order to obtain human skulls, which they suspend as trophies from the roofs of their huts. It is from this custom these people have obtained the name of “Head Hunters”. But, not withstanding the barbarous customs that exist amongst them, they have many good qualities."

The Very Rev. Thomas Jackson, Perfect Apostolic of Labuan and North Borneo, 1884:2


History taught the world to never mistaken a Dusun's kindness and humbleness for weakness. They love to accommodate needs of others but once the line is crossed, they are never hesitant to put one back to its place.


The typical traits of ancient Dusun include humbleness to the point of self-deprecating, complacent to the point of appearing lazy and unambitious; and respectful to tradition and the elderlies to the point direct eye contact and standing for own right are considered disrespectful.


The introduction of religious institutions and the installation of education system have upgraded the mentality of the people. Once institutionized as generation of farmers, nowadays there are increasing numbers of successful Dusun professionals, athletes and even national politicians and celebrities. Against the cliches, the Dusuns are becoming more and more globalized; some are religious and perhaps more than few are materialistic - not much different from any other races. But the stereotype of pure bred Dusun remains true; we are naturally happy folks who have very few simple wants and needs in life - food to keep us going, a roof over our head to keep us dry and booze and/or festivals to keep us entertained.


With some locals in Dusun-Kadazan costume during Kaamatan Festival, an annual one month festival to celebrate the end of harvest season - May 2009


Beginning of April 2016, following two beautiful nuptial ceremonies, love and life have brought a typical Dusun lady to beautiful Switzerland, the land of etiquette and order. The union was sealed with an inscription; and an unspoken deal to go for a one-of-a-kind lifetime adventure of managing an interracial household, merging the best of two cultures and making it as one.


Albeit that is not what this blog is all about per se though there might be some posts about cultural antics between us husband and wife once in a while. 


Instead, Surviving Switzerland is mainly about mundane everyday stories of life in Switzerland viewed through the eyes of a woman from Borneo. 


And as we travel sometimes, there will also be short travel tales, tips and pictures. 


Experiencing and sharing the norm life in foreign land surrounded by foreign people speaking foreign language helps me rediscover with delight, humor, acceptance and even appreciation(!) some life and cultural aspects that can be inspiring, challenging or perhaps, a bit of both! 


If I do not make sense, you disagree or you just want to share a laugh or two, feel free to comment or drop me a line at info (at) survivingswitzerland (dot) com. I appreciate a good discussion and I am always up to learn more. 







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