I forgot to scan the article!
However here is the unedit
ted piece (which is a pity since the edit ted piece looks great). If anyone has a copy mind scanning and giving it to me? 😀
Here it is. Comments are certainly most welcome.
So most of you who reads my very humble blog, would know that at this very moment, I am physically very much absent from our beloved Brunei. I am here in good old India, the land where the McDonald’s serve tikka, people go on tuktuks and the hustle and bustle of everyday creates the most wonderful explosion of energy.
Of course I am here not to stay, but rather, I am here, on behalf of Brunei, expecting to bring something valuable back home from an international bloggers’ summit, dutifully hosted by the award winning Global Voices Online (http://globalvoicesonline.org).
Call me cynical, but before I came to India, I was expecting to be scammed from the moment the plane touches the ground. Every single website I went to, as part of my pre-travel research, warned me of these canny characters that lurk around, waiting for naive looking tourists to pounce on. Being a lone girl of barely 5 feet tall, with a glaringly lighter skin tone than most Delhi-residents, I would have been an easy target.
However, I’m on my fifth day here, and I am yet to encounter such scams. But not because they do not exist, but because people around me, have been happily giving useful tips such as, “when on a taxi, pretend you have a fictional husband waiting for you at the desired location” or “just tell them you’re Panjabi”. Needless to say, these tips as my hotel receptionist, concierge and bellboy had shared with me involve some degree of “pretending”.
However, when I am surrounded by my touristy friends, I cannot escape. People know I am foreign.
“But where is she from?”, I heard.
There is an Italian couple in the third floor who overheard me saying “doot nahi” with my “chai” (no milk with my tea) in some sort of a fabricated Indian-ish accent I’ve acquired from watching “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” on repeat (again, as part of my pre-travel research), who thinks Brunei is in North India.
This morning, the Indian Government authorised money changer, who actually comes to your hotel to change your money (on a totally unrelated note isn’t that a great idea?), had to make two trips from my hotel to his office about 3 kilometres away, because he needed to verify whether there is such currency as the Bruneian Dollar or am I just a new breed of tourist out to scam him.
Most of those involved in this Summit I am attending, couldn’t place Brunei on the map even if their lives depended on it. With all this, I couldn’t help but wonder, is Brunei really that small? Are we really that insignificant that people don’t even know which region in Asia we’re actually in?
Being one of those people crowned as “People of The Year” for putting content online, I felt as if I’m not really doing my job well by not putting enough Bruneian content online. What exactly do people know about Brunei aside from the fact that His Majesty the Sultan used to grace that historical list of “richest men in the world”?
Do they know that most households in Brunei couldn’t survive without the “candas”, that special chopstick we use to eat the delicious gooeey goodness that is ambuyat? Do they know that little ubiquitious philosophical concept of Melayu Islam Beraja that we throw around for granted? Do they know our country has at least seven active, mutually unintellible dialects still used everyday for communication?
Indeed we actually have come a long way from last year. Now blogs pop up everyday without me noticing and every week when I do my obligatory blogger roundup, I will continue to be amazed by how many there is. They offer those on the outside a window, that otherwise would not be available.
We have seeped into the real medium of newspapers. Now let us take this a step further. In a wildly unprecedented move, in honour of the Visit Brunei Year 2008, I propose my BlogSpeak readers, a Bruneian Wiki, done in Brunei Malay, about Brunei.
Once we engage Bruneians, we engage the world.
Anyone out there interested on doing a Bruneian Wiki? There are so many nuances and beautiful expressions in the Bruneian Malay, and many experts say, if we do not transcend it, at least to the Internet facility, its life, as we know it, will dissipate into oblivion more sooner than we think. This is a language passed down from generation to generation, not learned in schools. Our generation, has the benefit of the Internet, of free mutually constructed encyclopaedias.
Do we use that facility to full use as have other nations? Look at the other wiki languages growing everyday. Who is up for it?
Who is Bruneian enough to add this in into their New Year’s resolution.