Brunei Darussalam negaraku

I know this is a belated post but better now than never, right?

So after much pondering, I realise I’ve been a bit of a cynic with my own country. Like a lot of us really. “Awu urang brunei andangnya janji melayu/suka complain/inda pandai queue/inda pandai pakai roundabout….” and so on and so on. As if aku ani inda urang brunei jua. (Ok I am one of those betabiat, janji melayu people I confess!)

But yknow, it’s like when you insult your siblings, you can do it but no one else can. *protects country vehemently*

So I dug deep into my brain cells and my heart strings. This is why Brunei and Bruneians are awesome:

1. We’re pretty harmless really. I mean, if you walk downtown aka Bandar or stroll through G-town, you don’t have to worry about your physical safety. The most awkward thing you will endure is people staring at you. And if it’s because you’re white and 6 ft 1, then take it as a compliment. We want to know you really.

2. Our cakes are awesome. Never will you find more colourful or most varied flavour of cakes/desserts during Eid.

3. We’re pretty creative with our baking too. Durian and nutella tapak kuda? I’m sure someone’s tried it before!

4. Someone will know someone who knows someone. This means you don’t need Google. You just need to know the ‘someone who knows everyone’. Once you found the person, keep his/her number, it will be invaluable.

5. Generally we like to take care of our kin. So if you’re planning to visit some obscure country and your uncle’s wife’s sister happen to live there, you can pretty much count on her wanting to help you out. If you’re lucky, you can reside at their place for free. *score*

6. We have a close tight knit extended family. This means we can potentially look out for each other. Make sure his or her don’t go homeless. Check their homes when they’re away. Look after their kids if need be. Mention how ‘sihat’ they are in the hopes that it would mean they would take the hint and do something about it. Liven up any BBQ/jemputan/malam bejaga2. Mention again how ‘sihat’ they are and feel happy that someone else is in the same position as you are.

7. We can fashion our baju kurung to the latest trend, thank you very much.

8. Ambuyat and durian, need i say more?

9. There is something about the fact that my friends go way back and because of that, our families know each other. Which happens in small, close-knit communities. There is a comfort in this that I’m not sure I can explain it well. I can talk to my friends after a long hiatus and ask about their family members, knowing their history and background and vice versa. Some might find this suffocating but I find comfort in this. It’s like their family are looking out for me too, not just my family.

10. There is so much that we complain about ‘urang brunei’. But I like to think that there are plenty others of my kin who would like to improve things, to progress, to diversify, to make Brunei a better place to be in and be a better Bruneian. Whether this involves changing policies, tweaking the system, opening up the arts and drama industry (whoop whoop to SEEDS!), educating fellow muslims and encouraging the sunnah, being passionate in their job, ignoring people’s complaints as they get on with their job. Whatever and however it is done, I have faith.

Lotsa love, me

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