Sabah quake: 5 things about the hero who sacrificed himself to save others

When we were young, we think of heroes as those characters in armour and with special powers. When we grow up, we believe that there are no such heroes in the world, and we get dejected a little. But when mishaps happen, we see who the true heroes are, people around us, people who are just like you and me, but with a heart much bigger and bolder.

On the morning of 5 June 2015, when an earthquake struck Mt. Kinabalu, local mountain guide Robbi Sapinggi went all out accompanying and leading climbers to safety, staying till the last and unfortunately sacrificing himself after getting hit by falling rocks.

1. He is only 31
Born in 1984, Robbi has been climbing mountains since he was 20. He was attracted by the beauty and grandeur of Mt. Kinabalu. A song about Mt. Kinabalu encapsulates the reasons of his love for it, of which a line in the song, “yesterday will not come again”, is of heartbreaking aptness at this moment of sorrow.

2. Licensed guide for 2 years
For a third of his life, he has been scaling the highest peak in South-east Asia, first as an assistant, and later on as a licensed guide in the recent 2 years. He has devoted his life in a job that he takes pride in, and is highly recognized by many climbers who had him as a guide before. Sabah Parks had received countless reviews about his excellence service.

3. Climbers’ welfare always the top priority
He does not only guide climbers physically, but also encourage them emotionally as he travel with them throughout their climbing journeys. When climbers are not emotionally ready or have doubts, he will understand their doubts and encourage them to come back again next time when they are more ready, instead of forcing them to move on regardless. He makes sure that climbers have pleasant experiences, as it is the journey that matters, not the destination. He assures climbers that there is no shame in not being able to complete a climb, as prioritizing health and safety is of key importance.

4. A good friend of climbers he guides
He is a good friend to climbers, taking care of all their needs to the best of his abilities. From waiting with climbers in a hut to keep warm till to giving them words of encouragement and calm their nerves to helping climbers take nice pictures during their descend to giving his jacket to a lady who was feeling cold when he was already wounded by falling rocks after the earthquake, Robbi has far surpassed a mountain guide to becoming a loyal buddy and good friend of climbers he guides.

5. SMK Narinang
He grew up in Sabah and previously attended SMK Narinang. He will be forever in the hearts of not only the lives he has saved, but also in the minds of people worldwide. May the hero of Sabah rest in peace.

Do show your appreciation for the courageous hero and help his young family out by contributing to the crowdfunding initiative here: