Signage and Risk Management in Borneo

By Doyice Cotten

Malaysia 2016 (94)Malaysia (particularly the Borneo area described here) is a beautiful country filled with jungles, streams, mountains, and extremely friendly people. It is one of the few Southeast Asia countries in which English is spoken by just about everyone. Also, we have found that Malaysia has more and better signage than most countries in this area. In this post we will look at some of that signage as well as some potential risks.  Please right-click on an image for a larger view.

National Park Signage

We found the signage around the parks to be very good. Some of them are shown here. Most are self-explanatory. The English might not always be perfect, but it is easily understood — and should be listened to. The first four signs below were at an orangutan sanctuary. The rules were very important because you were in the jungle within about 20 yards of a huge orangutan and several smaller ones — with no protection between you. The third sign has a waiver or disclaimer in two languages and the second one has the waiver in three languages.

The blue sign has rules for boats in another park. One of the rules warns not to overload a boat. Our guide must have forgotten to read that because our boat was overloaded. The boat (pictured below in the National Park Hazards section) was made for six or seven at most and we had nine people in it.

The signs for the canopy walk and warning of falling branches were among the very few written in English only.

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Resort/Hotel Signage

The resorts did not provide life guards at the pools, but did have plenty of warning signs. One would presume that the no shorts rule doesn’t apply to trunks. And of course, the water safety sign was at a private beach and not a pool. We saw no pools with those hazards.

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Street Hazards Around Kuching

Compared with other Southeast Asia countries, the street hazards were fairly minimal. Photos below illustrate some sharp drop-offs right next to sidewalks.

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National Park Hazards

When you are in a park that is in the jungle, you must expect some hazards. Two below show overhanging rocks beside a boardwalk. BUT, one should know to look where you are going. The final two photos show some risk management in action. These steep walkways were on the side of a mountain in a rain forest leading up to caves. They are often wet and could be very slippery. But look closely and you can see there are raised narrow boards that allowed for secure footing.


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Malaysia, like all third world countries has more hazards that the U.S., but it is a great place to visit.

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