You see all those cars around you? Yeah, it’s traffic. Yeah, you’re late. (Illustration: Ibrahim Yussop)
So, this one time, I was half an hour late, and no one else was late, and being late actually mattered.
It involved underestimating 5pm traffic, and forgetting that I’m not too familiar with Kota Batu. The event was full of formally-dressed people. The event only kicked off only after my arrival. I was mortified.
And yet, I do not know if this is unusual in Brunei. I do not know how often instances of lateness are met with shame. You would even say that lateness is unashamedly rampant.
In some social circles, 5 to 15 minutes’ lateness may be accepted. But I’m amazed at how tolerant we are, when:
- “late” means half an hour late, or even an hour late
- a latecomer to a meeting doesn’t let you know they’ll be late
- a rehearsal or a launching starts more than an hour after the stated time.
Surely this can’t be normal. I’m not talking one-off lateness, I’m saying that perpetual lateness is a habit. I’m talking about how we perpetuate this unnecessarily in all our social and work groups.
How are we constantly letting others wait for us? How can we be happy to throw around the excuse “Janji Melayu”, allowing it as a cultural habit, and masking that it’s actually an inconsideration to others? Read more…
The average monthly expenditure in a Brunei household for recreation, in 2010 (6 years ago!), was B$185. (Source: JPKE, or direct link to PDF)
But how much do we spend individually, and on what? How much do we spend when we go out, or to keep ourselves occupied at home, or generally on “stuff”? After food and bills (and savings, yes?), how much of our salaries are going to cinema tickets, or magazines, or new gadgets? It would be genuinely kind of interesting to know what the spending trends are for recreation and entertainment – or even what counts as “recreation and entertainment” to different people.
And yes, there’s concern on the economy, considering recent calls this year to be more prudent on spending, from embedding a savings culture to government deficits – I won’t minimise the importance of this, but it’s also not what I’m directly addressing here.
I’m thinking: Data! I’m thinking of richer, detailed numbers, that reflect our Bruneian society and living, and our unique local circumstances. I wonder how much we spend on our hobbies. I wonder to what extent do we support our favourite creators (local or otherwise) with our wallets. I don’t know what on earth we’re always shopping for in Miri. I wonder how we seek out relaxation, or laughs, or thrills.
“Laughs and Thrills” should be how I rename my entertainment budget, but more generally, here are some typical ways we might be recreatin’ or entertainin’:
Reading: How many people regularly buy books and magazines? As a B:Read committee member, it was interesting to see the rise in local Instagram shops just for books, or enthusiastic secondhand book sales in Facebook and Instagram communities.
Music and movies: Are we still torrenting or buying pirated discs? There was excitement when Netflix became available in Brunei this year, but streaming is bound to the usual Brunei internet woes, and we’ve been running on our restructured TelBru data plans for over a year now. Or are we comfortable with Kristal Astro and offerings from local cinemas? How many of us are just listening to music via YouTube, or Brunei radio?
Shows and spots: Brunei is low on local entertainment spots or “shows”, usually having seasonal periods of events, but here and there, we find places to go. We might have brought our kids to Jerudong Park’s water park, or the short-lived crocodile park, or to the popular Ultraman shows this year. We might have paid a small fee to enter a pet reptile show, or an outdoors festival. Some of us might have paid $30 tickets for the rare orchestral concert.
- Lastly, how do people generally find, and pay for, recreation in Brunei? Do people prefer parks or shopping malls? Do we prefer hangouts at local kopi places, or with friends who have the latest gaming consoles? (Spin-off question: Are we a nation that is both happy to santai but also be consumed with, well, consumerism?)
I will no longer be updating this post – I will instead be updating on my projects and writing on this page
. I’m keeping this post around for archival purposes.
For those of you wanting to read more recent stuff by me, here are some of my more notable mini-essays, thought dumps, mini-projects, or articles posted on other websites.
This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.
So I’d been hearing about foodpanda – and as a mobile app enthusiast of sorts, I do take interest – but although many of my friends and acquaintances had heard of it, none of them had actually tried the service.
I’m not much of a food enthusiast (boo, bad Bruneian), but was interested in the process of ordering from foodpanda. As easy as it is to use the service, some parts are still not straightforward. I’m sharing my experiences here for anyone who hasn’t tried it out.
Before we start, let’s get some things out of the way:
- How the service works, in brief:
- Download the app
- Select your location via the app
- Select the restaurant and your items
- Place your order
- Wait for delivery
- Pay cash on delivery.
- I’m ordering from the Brunei-Muara district.
- I was informed beforehand that delivery time is generally an hour for all restaurants.
- I used the foodpanda app on iPad, hence SMS notifications and calls from foodpanda arrived separately on my Android phone. So there’s a mishmash of screenshots below.
1st Try: The code
The first thing to do is to pick a location. The eligible locations for delivery was limited. This can be mildly confusing if you’re not sure which area you’re in.
For my first try, I used the BANDAR CITY area; the second time, I used SERUSOP. Geographically, my location was close to those areas though not exactly in the area. There didn’t seem to be an issue with this.
As of writing this post, though, foodpanda has added on a substantial list of locations for the Brunei-Muara district, including villages (all prefixed by “Kampong”) and Government office buildings:
List of locations for Brunei-Muara district
This post hasn't been updated in over 3 years.
As part of my MA in Digital Sociology this year, I’m doing a class on research methods. I’m interested in finding out the perspectives of Brunei residents on government scholarships, particularly those that send students abroad for higher education.
The survey is
currently running (edited) CLOSED; the last day will be 4 April 2014 (UK time).
Survey has ended! Thank you!
I have a totally unrealistic goal of getting 100 responses, so if you like the survey, I appreciate if you could share or tweet this page, or the above survey link. (Note on privacy: The short URL collects statistics on where a visitor clicks from, but otherwise doesn’t collect any personal data. See is.gd’s ethics information.)
Results will also be posted here. If I do not reach the 100-response mark, I will still share the figures. More information here on the research rationale, design, etc.
2 Apr 2014:
This morning I woke up to over 100 responses! It took just a little over 2 days. Thanks so much everyone for your responses! I am especially thankful to everyone who shared and tweeted the survey – I know it doesn’t take much to click the “share” button, but I’m feeling full of gratitude and fluffy feelings at the moment! I can only guess that the survey took off because its topic was something you guys were interested in. So, I’ve decided to keep the survey open for anyone who still wants to participate, but I have changed the last day from 5 April to 4 April. Thanks again all.
5 Apr 2014:
The survey has been closed! Thank you!