More than 10 years ago, if you saw a Chinese stranger on the street, it was safe to speak to him/her in Hakka coz 99.999999% of them would understand Hakka. Now is very different, we got Hokkien, Cantonis, Teochaw… people in Sabah and many of them can’t speak Hakka.
Therefore, all the Sabah Chinese Hakka are forced to speak in Chinese (Mandarin). To study how well the transition taking place, I observe the way the Sabah Chineses talk among themselves. Below is part of the conversation I recorded in coffee shop. See if it sounds familiar to you. Sorry ah, if you can’t read Chinese.
Lesson: For non-Chinese in Sabah, it doesn’t help even if you learn Chinese. You still can’t understand what they say.