Kingdom of unexpected treasures

As promised, I will post something related to my very own country, Brunei Darussalam. I haven’t written anything about my country since I started this blog (not that long ago, just November last year) Reason? I don’t know actually. Maybe it’s because I don’t go out much and get involved in all the latest happenings in my country (eg. some kind of ‘fun day’ or any charity events or any of those events held at the Mall).

Or maybe I haven’t lived in my own country that long. I’ve spent…. *starts counting*…. about 5-6 years living in my country (not 5-6 years straight) so that would be about 13 – 14 years overseas….yeah I know, you could estimate my age by now LOL So as much I try to deny it, I’ve always felt ‘fish out of water’ in my country.

Now I’m not going to write about facts Brunei. You can find that in the CIA factbook or go here, Brunei Resources, a really informative site. So what should I write about instead? Let’s start with dismissing the myths about Brunei. These are some of things that I’ve heard many times when living overseas. Note that not everyone is ignorant about our country:

Brunei! Oh yes, that’s in the middle east!

Umm.. nop. It’s in Southeast Asia. But I’m not surprise that most people think it’s in the middle east. When people think of Brunei, they think about: Islam, Sultanate and Oil. Those criteria fit perfectly with oil rich middle eastern countries.

This is Brunei

Brunei, that’s a Muslim country. Is it safe there? Like don’t you guys suffer from terrorist attacks?

Haha! We worry more about how to pay our ‘utang‘ than terrorist attacks. We live in a peaceful country. Some even say it’s too peaceful that it’s boring and we barely get international media attention. You know what, I prefer it that way. We should be grateful that our country is peaceful. Baik, alhamdulillah lah!

This reminds me of a story someone told me. It’s about how we tell where our country is located affects people’s impression on us. For example, a foreigner once asked a Bruneian where the country is located. He said it’s near Indonesia and the Philippines which later made the foreigner asked questions about terrorist activities in the country. 😆 The next time, another foreigner asked him where Brunei is and he answered near Singapore. Haha!

Where do you come from? Brunei! Wow, you must be rich then!

I get this everytime. Sure, we Bruneians can be considered to have a high standard of living. One of my friend who had visited Brunei before noticed that every house has a garage with 4 to 5 cars! To paraphrase what a traveller wrote on his blog about Brunei, ‘you see all these crappy little houses with $30,000 to $40,000 cars everywhere’ Although I’m not sure about the crappy little houses part.

So I understand why they say you’re rich. But the thing is this, when they say ‘you’re rich’ or ‘you must be rich’, generally most of them think you’re REALLY F***ing RICH! Like they think you own a helicopter. You begin to understand it why they think that way when read about the next myth.

Are you related to the Sultan? Or your dad must’ve been close to him

See, some people out there are kinda ignorant and I don’t really blame them anyway. Ignorance is a normal thing. Like I said earlier, for most people the fact about our country being a Sultanate comes up first when they think about our country. Ignorantly, some of them have that image of, you know, feudal kind of society where 10% of the population are privileged while the rest of the 90% are farmers of sorts. And that 10% are probably related to the monarch or work in the palace.

So with that kind of thinking, seeing a kid like me studying overseas in an international school would naturally make them think that I’m one of those super rich privilege 10% creme de la creme of the population of this feudal monarchy society that could afford to go overseas. WTF!!

I remember a teacher asked me if i was related to the royal family. I said no but he insisted and asked whether my dad was a close friend of the Sultan. I said no. I just said that my dad is a government servant which was enough to shut him up for awhile LOL.

So that’s all the myths that need to be shattered. I guess that’s all I’m going post for today on this topic and I’ll continue later. So stay tuned.

PS: Man, I still haven’t post the second part of ‘Heroes don’t die..they reload’

PPS: Damn, ‘Rambo’ got kicked off from American Idol


One thought on “Kingdom of unexpected treasures

  1. Pingback: Rasa Sayange… « Trylobyte’s Corner

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