Last week you were introduced to the Brunei Darussalam’s ASEAN Chairmanship by Josephine. How was it? I bet her article was incredibly interesting to read.
So this week is my turn to act as your virtual guide to Brunei Darussalam, the chair of ASEAN for 2021.
In the first half of 2020, I was blessed with an opportunity to visit and stay in Brunei during a student exchange programme. My experience was incredible; everyone I met were kind, the environment was green and healthy.
Despite having a very small land area compared to its neighbors Indonesia and Malaysia, Brunei felt so peaceful and spacious. Heck, if I get the chance (and permission, obviously) to choose where to spend my old age, Brunei is the first place that I’d go.
So without further ado, let us look further into the Abode of Peace itself, Brunei Darussalam.
Borneo’s Golden Nugget
Brunei Darussalam is blessed with the abundance of oil reserves. This, along with impeccable government supervision, makes them one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
The effects of the wealth are felt by every Bruneian and expatriate alike. The government heavily subsidizes electricity, gas, education, as well as daily staples. Universiti Brunei Darussalam, the country’s first and biggest university, ranks among the top 10 universities in Southeast Asia. This is possible due to the country’s determination, both economically and academically.
…was the first of Brunei’s Appointments to the ASEAN Chair. It was less than a decade since Brunei achieved its independence. In spite of this, Brunei proved itself to be a strong country through its many achievements across the years.
Since then, Brunei has been appointed as ASEAN Chair multiple times. During its last appointment as ASEAN Chair in 2013, Brunei exhibited numerous substantial tasks. One of the most notable was to lower the tensions regarding the South China Sea dispute.
Another one would be Brunei’s close guard & monitoring of the Republic of Korea, which was under heightened threats and denunciation from the DPRK.
In the 2021 ASEAN Chairmanship logo, there’s a particular element called ‘Bunga Ayer Muleh’, a traditional motif of Brunei Darussalam, which represents ASEAN’s engagement and cooperation with other countries that contribute towards the development and resilience of the ASEAN region.
All in all, Brunei’s ability to lead ASEAN has been proven in the past, and will likely continue in the future.
PS: Here’s a picture of me with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. Apologies for the potato quality. 😅
Gamal Kevin Alega | @gamalkevin
A law student from Indonesia; currently living in Pekalongan, Jawa Tengah. Highly enthusiastic about languages, cultures, and technology. Joining AYO as a Content Writer with the intention of honing writing skills, as well as enriching connections from various cultures and backgrounds. A proficient eater with 23 years of experience as well.