MIB in UBD: NO it is not merely a DRESSOCDE, it is a philosophy towards life, bet you didn’t know

A friend of mine has a survey up in UBD’s blog on Friendster (YES, UBD has a blog and a Friendster no less), concerning the implementation and reinforcement of the MIB concept in the campus and the fact that it is taught (rather unsuccessfully) as a subject in the University.

Please take a few minutes to respond to the following questions. Thank you!

From your point of view:

1. Is AB1503: MIB useful to you?

Yes/No

2. Does AB1503 : MIB help you in understanding the concept of MIB as the nation’s philosophy?

Yes/No

3. Is MIB still appreciated and practiced in UBD?

Yes/No

4. From your point of view, how can we enrich/strengthen the appreciation of MIB in UBD?

(Questionnaire has been paraphrased and Anglicized for the purpose of discussion)

This questionnaire opens up a lot of important issues to do with the subject of MIB in the UBD. More importantly the way that it is imposed on everyone in the form of a compulsory subject.

From personal experience, I have found AB1503 to be a thorn in my sides. The lectures were done in a hall filled will 800 first year students, done by lecturers, with the help of an overhead projector that projects something. I say something because for the whole time I was doing that course I have never been able to see not even ONE presentation slide because it was either too far, too small, or that there are just too many text in one slide to comprehend.

Tutorial classes on the other hand, are filled with 30 students per session, instead of the recommended 10. My non-Malay friends will identify these tutorial classes as THE-CLASS-WHERE-THE-LECTURER-IS-EXTREMELY-RACIST. It is the only class ever, in my whole life, EVER, a matured, knowledgeable, middle aged individual, who is a LECTURER calls someone “OI ANAK KINA” instead of by HER name, which is CLEARLY written down in the register. It is during these one hour sessions that I feel condemned and terribly embarassed of the fact that I am a Bruneian Malay.

I have not learnt anything new from the course aside from the cold realisation that some people are just bastards who are blatantly racist, openly sexist and damn proud of it, hiding under the guise of Melayu Islam Beraja. Defend them all you want, but this is the impression I got from the course. I came into the classroom with an open mind and ended up being disappointed.

MIB is a philosophy unique to Brunei and I understand that. It is a beautiful idea. Melayu with its beautiful graces, tolerant of others, accomodating, warm, exotic, and alluring, Islam with all its spiritual attributes, to have faith, to believe in that faith, to act in faith, and Beraja, having a ruler who we all can count on, someone we look up to, someone goodlooking who we trust and love. But these attributes of MIB which is what made it special in the first place wasn’t illustrated in the course.

In contrast, what I felt was that, the course was imposing and pretentious, done in an extremely non-conducive approach, where in the end, I felt very much provoked and angry because it didn’t tackle sensitivities very well, and the course felt annoyingly irrelevant.

How can MIB be appreciated then? BY NOT BEING DISCRIMINATORY TOWARDS ANYONE DIFFERENT WOULD BE A GOOD START. By planning and organising the tutorial lessons so that it will actually have a STRUCTURE would also be nice. But the most perfect answer to this is in Phoenix Naoki’s words,

To enrich the appreciation towards MIB or to even begin appreciating its existence is to firstly not impose itself forcefully upon ‘practitioners’ despite its status as a philosophy. People should be shown how exactly it is beneficial and how it plays a part in everybody’s lives so as there is solid evidence as to the consequences of alternative actions. One cannot preach and simply expect others to accept such indoctrination as law without prior balancing out the pros and cons as applied to their own personal views.

15 thoughts on “MIB in UBD: NO it is not merely a DRESSOCDE, it is a philosophy towards life, bet you didn’t know

  1. Hhhmmm, I’ve heard similar stories from Malay and non-Malay students alike in UBD that the way MIB is taught is just a glorified form of racism. Having never gone there myself I’ve always been curious to see the kind of material (notes, text etc…) students are given to read. Could I ask that perhaps you upload some samples so I could see for myself?

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  2. Living in a small non-secular multiracial community, I guess this is inevitable. Both Malaysia and Singapore have similair underlying issues. Education plays a major role in it but I guess a formalisation of studies like these may not be the ideal solution. It has to come from one’s family, that we should have been taught by our parents and we should teach our children, a thing or two about tolerance

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  3. LSM, I will see what I can dig out for you alright. Will email you soon.

    Ahim, design apa? My layout you mean?

    Nonnie, yes, Hardly anyone ever listens. Which is.. why bother? People are too busy playing bluetooth to even care.

    Jazz, yes, and now, to tackle the problem and not to further exacerbate it because frankly these classes are doing just that

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  4. We don’t have MIB in ITB. However, we do have 50 minutes worth of Ugama lessons every week, in which the teacher reads from somewhere and addresses us, the students, by looking down at his table. Last year, we had him as well, but then we changed teachers and we had a marvelous one, she taught us a lot. Me, especially. Unfortunately, this year it’s the old teacher again, and no one listens to him because he can never grab anyone’s attention right.

    And I can tell you one thing.. It is because of MIB that ITB students are turned off to apply for a degree in UBD. Because we have to repeat first year of the degree just for the MIB. Other universities just let HND holders to go straight to second year for a three year course. So, hmm.. other universities for another two years, or UBD for another huge chunk of my life?

    I don’t know why they can’t just let us slide to second year and still let us take MIB. Inda make sense langsung from where I’m standing. And I heard, ITB graduates’ HNDs inda brapa kana iktiraf in UBD. Have yet to find out whether that’s true or not.

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  5. Okay, when I said “ITB students”, I meant my friends and I. Hehehe. I’d be in trouble if I give the impression that I’m representing ITB students as a whole. Just my friends and I.

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  6. I ALWAYS sleep (ears still listening, but eyes closed) in MIB lectures. ALWAYS. I find myself a middle seat at the back, surround myself with a few friends, and then have a nice sleep for two hours. I never jot down notes, hehe. Just lucky that one of my mom’s friends was taking MIB too(in-service students take MIB in their second year), she jotted down notes, and told me to sleep after she noticed I always fall asleep. At the end of the course, she gave me the photocopied version of ALL her notes, hehe. I remembered bringing in a tape recorder with me, so I taped the lectures, and one of my MIB group tutorial friends used the tapes for our project. I meanwhile, never listen to the tapes. I have no idea where they are right now.
    Speaking of discriminating MIB lecturers, hmm, my MIB tutor was the nicest of the lot, he didn’t treat the girls or the non-Malays differently, but there’s this one tutor that I had no choice but ask for his help last time when there’s a change in tutors, oh, he’s very discriminating. He actually said this:
    ‘Tunggu dulu ah, saya melayan anak-anak saya dulu’ (anak-anak: his students)
    ‘Kamu anak-anak saya jua, tapi anak angkat’ (anak angkat: Me and my friend)
    ‘Anak banar saya dulu saya peduli’ (anak banar: his students)
    ‘Kertas Projek kamu ani, kalau saya, paling tinggi saya bagi ‘D’ atau ‘E’ ni’ (to me, as he found my group’s paper terrible)
    One of my cousins took MIB as his major (BA Brunei Studies), and I complained about this guy to him, and this is what my cousin told me.

    ‘Ia atu andangnya tu, jangan peduli. Aku pun inda suka ia, aku lagi teruk kana olehnya’

    I also remembered once when I was sitting with some other in-service students, I don’t know who they are though they are teachers as they call each other ‘cigu’ once in a while during the lectures. As usual, I was sleeping, and when I woke up, and there’s about 30 min to 1 hour of lecture more to go, I can hear them say ‘bah, sejam lagi, batah lagi ni, sampat tidur ni, aku mengantuk lakat ni’
    Then, 15 minutes later, ‘Eh, abiskan tia lecture ani bah, 15 minit jua ganya lagi’
    Hehe, I found that funny, as it showed that, even THEY find it boring.

    To Tina: there’s a friend of mine who transferred from medical school overseas to biology in Brunei. He’s a fee paying student, and he entered UBD as a second year in courses, but according to registrations, he’s a first year, he still had to take MIB, and that’s his only 1st year subject, other than the subjects that he hasn’t taken while in med school.

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  7. I don’t see the relevancy of teaching MIB in classes other than glorifying and endorsing the existence of certain (upper) classes of society. Not only is it discriminatory, but the whole philisophical approach is weak and does not carry any weight with the general population.
    I don’t see how MIB can benefit my family and I. I know I’m not going to follow an ideology that only serve a small minority of the Brunei population.

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  8. I will never follow MIB as a philosophy or as a calling or even as a research topic. It should die out, but like Nazism and communism (its obvious inspirations) it will survive in some way or form. There’s a reason the APB faculty is in a corner somewhere- so the other faculties will never have to touch it! even FASS people can go to their departments without passing through it.

    UBD students are, with one or two exceptions easily put outside the MIB ‘ideal’. Even the students doing Arabic-based courses or religious courses aren’t MIB material, if you look at their cars, bad habits (like the rest of us!) and attitude.

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  9. I think, there is no justification to merely condemn MIB because of the act of someone who evidently forgot his or her own MIB lesson. I’ve been doing some research on MIB for an assignment and imagine explaining about it to a class where nobody has ever heard of MIB, much less Brunei LOL.

    My point is, as much as we as Bruneians are to honour and uphold MIB as our national ideology since the Sultan proclaimed it on January 1st, 1984 (Black,2008:1), we must not forget that we as individuals play our part too. Rambut sama hitam, hati lain-lain.
    I think it is small of them to hide behind ‘MIB’ when the real reason is somebody just need to learn some manners, and maybe an MIB lesson as well.

    In case any of you think, like Braighlinn (1992), that MIB was made for Brunei before post-colonial period, Black (2008:7) argues that MIB is tailored to allow the adaption of core traditional values into modern exigencies; significant changes may be made with regards to the ideology to suit modernity, though without changing “the integral and integrated nature of these elements”.

    But, faham-faham la, kitani orang Melayu. Racism has been going on for a long time di Brunei, and most of us just let it happen right under our noses. Therefore, we, the young generation, must learn from our parents’ (or grandparents’) mistakes. We make the change.

    Ref:

    Black,A. (2008). Article 5 Ideology and Law: The Impact of the MIB, Ideology on Law and Dispute Resolution in the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam. Asian Journal of Comparative Law,Volume 3 – Issue 1

    Braighlinn,G. (1992). Ideological Innovation under Monarchy: Aspects of Legitimation Activity in Contemporary Brunei . The Netherlands: VU University Press. Cited in Asian Journal of Comparative Law,Volume 3 – Issue 1

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  10. Of course I am not condemning the MIB philosophy, but the MIB Lesson and the way it is conducted in the glorious University of Brunei Darussalam. I just find it disappointing that in the wake of this age where knowledge and understanding is key to living in peace together, some still insist on acting like that. Disappointing.

    I don’t find “faham-faham” and the fact that just because racism has been going on for a long time makes the act alright. So I’m with you, it is a time for change.

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  11. Believe me, I’ve been there – I usually chalked that up to the individual. Cranky~ Haha. then again, it may happen in other modules jua kan. But try not to throw the whole bag of apples when theres only a few rotten ones – Im glad I had an awesome lecturer for that particular course; he’s awesome because he allows me to use creole during a presentation=)even when he knows that is technically not “MIB” of me.

    Oh, and yes, racism does happen, even way way back before. and NO, it is not right. Mind you, it takes two to tango, so from what I had witnessed back home, it is a two, three way thing,LOL.bnar. Nevertheless, I dont practise it but I dont approve of it either so, let’s do something about it, shall we? =)

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  12. I Quote from Datul
    “””
    My point is, as much as we as Bruneians are to honour and uphold MIB as our national ideology since the Sultan proclaimed it on January 1st, 1984 (Black,2008:1), we must not forget that we as individuals play our part too. Rambut sama hitam, hati lain-lain.
    I think it is small of them to hide behind ‘MIB’ when the real reason is somebody just need to learn some manners, and maybe an MIB lesson as well.

    In case any of you think, like Braighlinn (1992), that MIB was made for Brunei before post-colonial period, Black (2008:7) argues that MIB is tailored to allow the adaption of core traditional values into modern exigencies; significant changes may be made with regards to the ideology to suit modernity, though without changing “the integral and integrated nature of these elements”.
    “””

    With regards to Datul’s response, I believe Mo hit the mark with:
    “””
    I don’t see the relevancy of teaching MIB in classes other than glorifying and endorsing the existence of certain (upper) classes of society. Not only is it discriminatory, but the whole philisophical approach is weak and does not carry any weight with the general population.
    “””

    It was proclaimed as a national ideology for the benefit of the upper classes of Melayu Brunei, discriminates between Melayu Brunei and non-Melayu Brunei[even non-Melayu get discrimination, although not as much as other races(e.g. a ‘kaling’ joke was made in one lecture)], through inculcation.

    and the “”” MIB is tailored to allow the adaption of core traditional values into modern exigencies “””,
    – is not applicable to the general populace, nor is learning the dry theory of such values(as if it is a history subject) effective in teaching youths. The teaching of culture begins in the home. For any nation and any people. The parents must value and practice said values, teach and show their children by example and daily use. If such values are forced unto children in school,then where is the role of parents? One has to wonder, does this situation reduce the measure of concern & subsequent responsibility of a parent in teaching such values.Does it encourage a lax in culture-transfer between generations?

    Other races and other non-dominant Malay natives already have difficulty teaching the modern youth of their own culture. While the values of ‘Honesty, Honour, Loyalty, etc’ are present in every culture. How then is MIB different, or even necessary?

    Much like feeding a child bitter vegetables, broccoli for example.It is nearly impossible to feed the child except by forcing his jaw open and shoving the broccoli down its throat. This is how MIB is taught now.

    However, a good parent may find a possible solution in the way the vegetable is served.[like how I used to hate eggplant, until one particularly nice curry eggplant dish had me hooked]. This is how MIB should be taught, an alternative way or many alternative ways to ‘serve’ the philosophy should be found.

    If a child is continuously fed the same hated vegetable, this will only make him hate it more. Similarly, if a student dislikes the way MIB is taught as a subject,then the values and lessons are not taught, but instead depreciate the value of MIB in the eye of the student[for a Melayu Brunei – yes, I do hear complaints from them as well]. For non-Melayu Brunei, this would result in greater racial-rifts with Melayu Brunei.

    and Unlike at home where understanding and flexible teaching is available from parents. Majority of teachers just ‘Teach the Syllabus’. Most students just garner minimum points to pass. Everything is exam,or work oriented. One cannot measure the degree of respect to which a person holds their cultural values through exams on dry knowledge and homework.Culture should be taught at home. Not as a compulsory subject.

    And also, most Melayu Brunei are more easily able to score in such ‘Tests’,’Work’&’Exams’, because they are regularly exposed to it at home for most [whether or not they absorb what is taught at home is a different matter, with some Melayu Brunei also scoring badly in the subject]. Non-Melayu Brunei are dependent on text-book answers and put in more effort, because the Syllabus does not deal with understanding, it deals with marks and points. Here, there is discrimination, there is no ‘equal chance’.

    A person’s philosophy cannot be inculcated, it is a wider view and perspective of the world from an accumulation of all their experiences in life. To force onto a person a philosophy is a denial of their Human Rights. Their right to their own view, their own philosophy. It is a careless disregard and disrespect of the opinions of another human being.

    Stuffing food down a child’s throat may lead to struggles, tears, possible choking, damage to the esophagus, and bitter resentment. Parents should know better. A Nation should know better.

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