Life that is rarely known

If I were to begin talking about Brunei, I have a pretty solid idea what to talk about but not exactly what it is. Generally, our history is told through textbooks during primary and secondary schools and is passed down orally from generation to generation (at least that’s what I think). The recorded past has definitely shaped our minds and our identity, whether we know it or not.

Of course, our surroundings have probably played the major role in doing that. Personally, from my own experience, there are 4 important things that also help to define the Bruneian identity: Family, friends, culture and religion. The internet’s a pretty big deal as well. Food is, needless to say, loved by everyone. (I don’t know anyone who hates sambal) I haven’t forgotten MIB but that’s already been mentioned frequently, I assume.

But this is my surrounding, my experience and my thoughts. Outside the sphere of this ‘solid idea’ of what my world looks like, I do believe, is so much more. Like a lot of people, I’m quite comfortable in my own position, quite privileged and (alhamdulillah) I never really starved. A typical Bruneian? Somewhat. A real Bruneian? Well, I passed my O level Malay but I don’t know. An alien? Only if you’re an immigrant or a foreigner.

This is not an insightful piece towards understanding the Bruneian identity but more of a vague realization on being a Bruneian. I sure hope I’ll be able to write more about this issue in the future. For now, though, I’ll give you something that I’ve been pondering about in the past years – life that is known and rarely known:

Where do I start?

The people, the places, the jobs, their faces, their thoughts, their conversations, the problems, the daily occurrence, the wisdom, the burdens, their dreams and ambitions.

The commonplace

The ambiguous

The marginalized

The history – the origin – the other truth

The locals

The immigrants

The ordinary

The unusual

Different minds, different goals

Different priorities, different stereotypes

Different cultures, different beliefs

Different lifestyles, different standards

Different behaviours, different leisures

Different wardrobe, different design

Different salaries, different manners

Different way of thinking

What do I know about this life?

That I know so little about?

The name of the trees and plants found only here

The name of the roads and streets

The reason why the river flows so slowly here and the sea roars so gently

The family tree

The attire

The wedding

The food

The rules and laws

The worn-out office workers

The relaxed privileged people

The mountains that the ‘aliens’ have to climb

The smiles of the immigrants

The arrogant speech (where the citizens are unaware/unconscious of)

The elders

The high local servants

The wondrous

The determined students

The strange villagers/locals

The confused, educated people

The cynical 21st century thinkers

The uncaring people

The rude, obnoxious civilians

The defensive speakers

The quiet observers

The happy, pleasant optimists

The never-ending penny seekers

The doting, responsible adults

The obedient workers

The educated but narrow-minded officers

The strict but hopeful teachers

The westernized but still yellow-card citizens

The madness of the uncivilized people

The protests of some westerners

The westernized and modernized authors

The things we should be grateful for

The things we complain

The things we don’t see

The things that we take for granted

The white people

The other

The business expertise

The small fortune

The centre of the place

The things that attract the population

The entrepreneurs

The benefactors and the ones who benefit

The factory workers

The repetitive messages

The town

The music

The survivors

The living-loving creatures

The adventurers

The influenced children

The irritated wanderers

The bills that we pay

The intolerant waiting

The yawns of the receptionists

The diligent yet limited space

The sighs of the labourers

The fears of the newcomers

The spontaneous fellows

The friendship of the unlikely

The chaos of the misunderstood and miscommunication

The aimless

The curious

The obvious but manipulated words

The faces and crimes

The apparent truth

The green

The comparison

The fortunate and unfortunate youngsters

The average and simple people

The opinionated columnists

The small region

The laid-back environment

The ambitious activists

The creative, modern artists

The hybrids

The assimilated and comfortable settlers

The insensitive opportunists


The hidden

The helpless

The worsened teenagers

The tradition-keepers

The literary world

The money-counters

The ignorant

The indifferent

The responsible and capable adults

The dependable, future leaders

The dreamers who crave for space

The ordinary who wants the best


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