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?)