BlogSpeak: Anyone out there interested on doing a Bruneian Wiki?

I forgot to scan the article!

However here is the uneditted piece (which is a pity since the editted piece looks great). If anyone has a copy mind scanning and giving it to me? πŸ˜€

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 (

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.

13 thoughts on “BlogSpeak: Anyone out there interested on doing a Bruneian Wiki?

  1. Hhhmmm, intruiging idea but…

    If you want to publicise Brunei to the world, especially for tourism purposes, then why a wiki in Malay? You’d only hit the people in this region (Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and to a lesser extent, Singapore). Wikipedia already has entries on Brunei which you an edit/append to.

    Promoting tourism is the responsibility of the Tourism Board but I don’t see why bloggers can’t help the effort along. In “Final notes from a great island“, writer Neil Humphreys actually tours Singapore jotting down his thoughts about what he sees. I know the Tourism Board is trying to get locals to know Brunei more and I think that’d be a good place to start. Go out trekking, driving, diving, whatever around Brunei and blog about what you see. Give details about getting there (Brunei seems to have a dearth of signs), post pictures and stuff like that.


  2. LSM: Yes Wikipedia does have entries on Brunei which can be append/edited. But the thing is, it leaves out one important thing: that for centuries, these Brunei information has been passed down from generation to generation in Brunei Malay.

    Nowadays, information is passed over using Google, which is in English, and mostly concentrated on the younger generation. The Bruneian Wiki idea stems from that basic premise, that information, for Bruneians, about Brunei can be obtained from the eyes of a Bruneian, in the language of a Bruneian.. and is also an attempt to engage the older generation with Internet use beyond surfing for newspapers.

    Many people from other countries which has many languages, e.g. China, Russia, is already doing this because they find that to write everything in English will result in a “lost in translaton” effect. Similarly for the Buneian Malay, many many subtle yet important nuances will be lost. It is the sme reason why Bruneians will find funny while those in perhaps even Malaysia will wonder whats so funny until someone explains.

    do i make more sense now?


  3. yes i did haha.. and its a wonderful idea, i would love to help out however im probably not bruneian enough.. the only bruneian words that im good at are the nama2 hantu.. πŸ™‚

    anyway, with promoting and preserving the brunei language in mind, its a good step forward.. all the best..

    and happy new year! selamat aidiladha..


  4. I would love to help in it and I also think(like LSM) that the wiki would be a lot better if it’s written in English. You have your point there but why don’t we just do one in English, and we can still do those important ‘can’t be translated completely’ terms and stuffs, in Brunei Malay, and provide enough translation to it. I know I sounds confusing, erm, eg.

    “Bruneian love to bla bla (brunei malay terms) bla bla, it’s part of their daily lives”

    Then we put some explanation down there about the “bla bla bla = bla bla bla(in english)”.

    Yea, something like that, so we can achieve a balance in between both? =)


  5. The point of having a Bruneian Wiki is not for tourism. Not yet anyway. It is an attempt to preserve the home language, the mother tongue of 70% of all Bruneians. If it is written in English, that basic premise of passing on information from generation to generation in Melayu Brunei will be lost. 😦

    I feel that this language is being trivialised. I’m all for English literacy and all but, if we forget our mother tongue, its already short lifespan will become even shorter.


  6. heylo dalenx~

    i am just cruising around.. ku damam… anyway, apa kn ku comment tadi nie ah… Owh.. yes, ur blogs + comments lately have been very urr… thought provoking. sakit kepala ku membaca. its like ohmigod… so much venom… hehehe~ Anyway, good luck for d new year babez πŸ˜‰ We wont see you guys nemore after this.. hehehe~ πŸ˜‰

    and owh, a bruneian wiki sounds plausible. i’ll definitely support it, bt to make it? hehe unfortunately for me, my brunei malay is way up there in this category called: my inability to decipher languages properly.

    bye tootz~


  7. Yes! The idea’s been brewing in my head for some time, when one day I was reading Brunei Resources and thinking, “how can there be an easy way to link, search and present all the info in this blog to everyone?”. The only thing I think might be a long time problem would be how long the interest can last. Wikis need editors who need to, among other things, correct edits made be vandals and such, which can be very time-consuming. I’m up for it, nevertheless.

    Also, who says a Wiki can’t be bilingual? Many pages in Wikipedia have a translated version of the pages, though it may lead to problems of synchronisation.


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