Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People
In September, I was in London for the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Sponsored Media Visit hosted by the Sporting Opportunities Unit at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I was selected by the British High Commission in Brunei to represent Brunei and was involved in meetings across the 2nd to the 4th of September with key organisations involved in the building, planning, marketing and Legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The trip included a tour around the Olympic Park and focused on the legacy of the Games across all angles. There were also other media representatives; from Singapore, Qatar, Russia, Argentina, Uruguay, Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan and St Lucia.
We were coached to Stoke Mandeville Stadium where we met with Martin McElhatton, Chief Executive of Wheelpower and Ian Barham, Buckinghamshire Legacy Manager. The state-of-the-art Stadium is the national centre for disability sport and has become known as the ‘home of wheelchair sport’ and the ‘birthplace of the Paralympic Games’.
Close by was Stoke Mandeville Hospital where we met with Sally Hills, CEO of Specialist Services. We were brought to the rehabilitation unit and saw first-hand physiotherapists and exercise specialists working with patients and athletes. Sally then elaborated about the vision of Dr Ludwig Guttmann, a neurologist at Stoke Mandeville Hospital whose work laid the foundations to disability sports.
Martin McElhatton, Chief Executive of Wheelpower
Ian Barham and Sally Hills (left and second left respectively)
Photograph from Ian Barham's Twitter @IanBarham1
Following this, we met with representatives from the Global Infusion Group (GIG), a global catering, logistics and brand support company. They are a live event support specialist company and here we learned about the importance of dynamic logistics support.
We then visited Dorney Lake, the site which hosted the rowing and kayak events during the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. Constructed and privately-owned by Eton College, Dorney Lake is managed and operated by the registered charity Dorney Lake Trust. Ivor Llyod, Chief Executive of the Dorney Lake Trust shared the Lake’s history and about how the venue was still thriving 12 months post Games.
This was probably when the penny dropped in my mind regarding the notion of “Legacy”. Until then it had been a seemingly abstract word on the front of my program guide. “Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Media Visit” Up until that point, the preceding meetings had been niceties, showing the origins of the disability sports, the importance of holistic rehabilitation, and the need for nimble operations. Those elements were part of the bigger picture, but I now started processing the trip through different lenses. I started looking for what had happened since the London 2012 Games. In other words, what legacy did the Games leave behind? Was the economic groundswell in 2012 a temporary inflammation? Or was it more akin to something more long-lasting? I would spend the rest of the trip seeking to find out.
I was in Kuala Lumpur in August for my first ever TEDxKL event. What's TED? TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading which started in 1984. You can read up about TED here. The 'x' in the TEDx means it's an independently organized TED event. In my own words, TED related events are designed to inspire people to action, to challenge preconceived ideas and to motivate people to think without boxes.
The theme of the fifth TEDxKL was Life Hacking. "Life Hacking refers to any productivity trick, shortcut, skill or novelty method to increase productivity" and they had an impressive lineup of speakers. There were three 'sets' spaced across the afternoon in August, with four speakers back to back. Each speaker had an average of 15 minutes each and topics varied: smartphones for the blind, poetry, recyclable rubber, passionate photography, 3D printing, etc - all connected in that they each brought forward a Life Hack.
I should say at this point that one of the things on my bucket list is to speak at a TED or TEDx event. So I was stoked to be there! Baby steps, right?
It was held at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre and it was a free-seating event. I was travelling solo so I was mobile [read: I made sure I was as close as possible to the front of the hall through each set]. After each set, there was ample break time (45 minutes), enough to network or go for a short walk around sections of Mid Valley. I am involved in the events and conferencing game so I was well aware that breaks are opportune times to try connect in person with the speakers. Mind you, TED related speakers are held in high regard worldwide so it was a treat that they lingered around during the breaks. I got to speak and do selfies with a few of them (see below).
I learned a lot from TEDxKL. It lived up to my expectations and I am glad I made the trip to KL to experience it.
Here are seven life lessons from TEDxKL 2013.
1. The future is not set in stone. In fact, it seems that it will be set in polymers. Jonathan Buford from Makible made a case on how the increase in accessibility to 3D printing could very well disrupt the way industry works.
2. Music connects people. This is a truism I know, but Cheryl Tan and Az Samad's session had the audience mesmerized. There was clapping, wolf-whistling, "wooOOOooo's", and then there were moments of silence as the crowd just soaked in the music.
3. Solutions take time. We live in instant times. We want faster internet speeds. We like quick replies to our messages and emails. We want quick solutions. We don't just want things to be quick, the consumer in us demands things be aesthetically pleasing too. However, sustainable solutions to complex problems usually takes time. In fact, as Gopi Sekhar shared, it takes a heck of a lot of research and development.
4. There is power in the spoken word. Kosal Khiev served 14 years in prison. There he discovered spoken word poetry. He shared his story and he held us captive. No props, no fancy slides, no whiteboards. Just Kosal and his heavy words.
5. Passion knows no barrier. Zung, an award winning international photographer from Malaysia, started his session with a confession. "I don't speak very good English." In fact, he actually didn't. He did however have a story to tell, and man, did he pour his heart into it! Zung has a dropped-out-of-school story and a and-then-I-found-my passion story. His advice: to work hard, to be passionate, to take risks.
6. Shine. If you have a talent or skill, don't hide it. Find a way to share it with others. Hong Yi did via YouTube and she is now making headlines across the world with her art. And no, she's not a one-hit-wonder. She continues to create and connect with her fans through digital media (google Red Hong Yi to see what I mean). Is there anything this girl can't do?!
7. Laugh at yourself. Rizal van Geyzel, a top Malaysian comedian took the stage and started cracking out jokes; jokes about himself. He then proceeded to deliver funnies about Malaysian stereotypes. As Rizal crisscrossed between jokes about himself and Malaysia, the crowd laughed with him. I remember my dad telling me as a kid, "Don't take yourself too seriously." That message still rings true today. It is a healthy sign when a society is able to laugh at itself. It shows openness and tolerance, which comes along with maturity.
The 'Before I Die' blackboard
With TEDxKL host Kavin J
With funny man Rizal van Geyzel
Red Hong Yi
I watched many wedding proposals on YouTube but this might just be the one to rule them all.
Editor's Note: Hi Readers! Lately, I have been introducing new contributors to this blog. There was the travel piece by John from NerdWallet, I am a Bird by Kathrina and Angel's Bistro Chez Fio experience. Over the next few weeks I will be introducing other new writers. This is important to me as everyone has a different perspective on things. We see things through different lenses. On that note, allow me to introduce you to Teah. This is a little bit about her in her own words.
"A civil servant by day and a freelance writer at night, Teah recently launched a Brunei based writing zine, Songket Alliance. She is also the co-founder of Bruneians Read, which means she likes to read. She travels too, and that's kind of the same as reading sometimes."
5 Things Bruneians Need to Talk About
by Teah Abdullah
1. Upholding a Realistic Language
The government is trying its hardest with upholding the writing and speaking of the Malay language. Quite frankly, it isn't working very well.
Before I go on to elaborate my point, let me clarify this: I write really well in English, and I'm not making this point as a form of superiority complex. I write Malay relatively better than the average person who writes English as well as I do. I write Malay for work every day, and I do not resent writing or speaking in Malay.
But standard Malay is a pain.
As oppose to emphasizing the continuation and the upholding of standard Malay, we need to start being realistic when it comes to our culture, which is: Uphold Melayu Brunei as a national language.
You can consider Melayu Brunei as bahasa pasar if you want, but I disagree. There is nothing more culturally strong and significantly Brunei than our capability at speaking Melayu Brunei. Granted, the Bahasa Rojak (English and Malay mixed together while talking) will always exist, but we need to realise that language evolves. "Cali" or humourous, for instance, is believed to stem out of the comedic actor Charlie Chaplin, "eksen" or "bluffing" derived from "action". We've allowed these words into our lexicon without thinking of its origin, and they are so deliciously Brunei.
When I was studying in Singapore, I surrounded myself with people who were enthusiastic of the Southeast Asian region. Some of them spoke both Standard Malay and Bahasa Indonesia. In the event I was on the phone with my mum, my best friend Shalina would tell me, "I think Melayu Brunei is the most beautiful and delectable Bahasa Melayu dialect in the region."
I have my biases when it comes to thinking we have a pretty good Melayu dialect, but I know several others who feel the same way as Shalina does. Our tonal goes several harmonies and our Melayu Brunei sounds playful. Continuing language identity is a very difficult task, but when people resent Standard Malay because the language sounds odd when uttered, we need to be realistic and find a language that is more identifiable to Bruneians, and that is Melayu Brunei.
Incest is a subject that goes on the newspaper often, but no one actually uses the word 'incest' to describe rape between family relations, which strikes me as odd. I'm personally curious to know the data on incest, and why we--as a society--have done little to reprimand it other than quietly discussing it. There are some things that should be left behind the walls of a family's house, but incest rape is one area where we need to start having serious discussions about, even if there are already regulations dedicated to it.
The less we talk about incest rape, the more we are giving space to fathers who rape their daughters saying that the girls were "tempting" him (legitimate reasoning I have personally seen on a newspaper.) Other than the psychological harm it may cause on the victim, it can be even more dangerous for the female in the event she gets pregnant from it. Other than the possibility of deformation, abortion is an option that isn't available for females who got pregnant through rape. And if the method is available, it isn't medically safe.
3. Our Overindulgence is Becoming a Cultural Trait
Want an iPad? No worries. Pay an installment of such-and-such dollars and you'll be able to pay them off in three years, at which time, there will be two other new iPads on the market! Want an LV bag? Go to the nearest mall! There's several grade-A fake ones you can afford!
There is something about branding that irks me. And while every so often I fall as the victim to branding, the overindulgence I see in a portion of Bruneians can be shocking. I'm sure there's someone that we know who has a new phone every few months despite not being a technobrat; they just buy it because it's new on the market. And there's the issue of grand weddings which causes people to drown in massive debt because of societal expectations, which isn't a good start to marriage. How about that WhatsApp message that circulated around recently about the Malaysian Ringgit being at its weakest and we could see long queues at money changers? Our overindulgence has become a cultural trait that our neighbouring country is abusing the weakness knowing that a portion--no matter how small or big--of our population would fall for it.
UBD did a study in 2009 which found that 75 percent of Bruneians aged 25 to 45 currently do not save or invest. THAT. IS. CRAZY. Where does their money go to?! Repayments, loans, cars, new and expensive phones.
This is dangerous for the future of our country, particularly when it comes to poverty. In other societies, elderly and women are the ones more likely to fall into poverty. With government pension no longer a privilege, this puts several generations of the Brunei population at risk.
It definitely isn't my business to tell you what you buy, but it certainly is my concern that we should not think so highly of ourselves that we forget moderation when it comes to our spending for the future of our economy or social stability.
Ever wondered about the process employers and recruiters go through when leafing through resumes and applications? According to Jobvite, an online recruitment platform, you are reviewed both offline (via your resume and references) and online across your channels. Take a look at the infographic below and then take a step back to think about the content you are creating and sharing online.
As a bonus, here's a quick (tongue-in-cheek) checklist for you jobseekers out there:
1. When did you last update your profile picture? First impressions count.
3. Received an award? Smashed your company's sales targets? Increased your department's productivity by 10%? Don't just brag about it. Update your LinkedIn account.
4. Are you a social butterfly and do your friends have a habit of tagging you on Facebook after a fun night out? Then it is time to review your Facebook privacy settings. (There have been a number of changes on FB, so it is probably time to review your settings anyway.)
5. Do you have a habit of complaining about your boss and / or colleagues online? Well, don't. We live in the era of WhatsApp. Screenshots are a click or two away.
6. Love taking selfies? Well, if you must, at least make sure you score yourself loads of likes for it.
7. Do your customers and clients adore you? Be bold and request for a testimonial or two. [Note: In order to first receive raving reviews, you have to be good, nay, GREAT at what you do.]
Page 7 of 113