Friday Sep 18

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Thoughts: We cannot rest on our laurels.



The last 18 months or so has seen the rise of self-expression. Bruneians have been expressing themselves more. This is a good thing. We are finding out new ways to speak up, both online and offline. Snapchat, Stories on IG, new blogs, creative gatherings, vlogs, Reddit and pop-ups. It has to be said that it was not always like this. There has been a collective awakening of sorts.

When we take a step back, we see that we are a young country. We are discovering our voice. We are speaking our first words. We are thinking about big concepts like the Future, Society, Progress, Tradition, Culture, Faith, Success, and as our minds are thinking about these things, so are we debating these things for the first time. We are speaking in broken sentences. There is grammatical error, but that does not matter. We are speaking our first words. We are speaking up for ourselves and this country that we love, and that is a good thing.

We are going through growing pains . . . a kind of I-can't-quite-put-my-finger-on-it type of pain from rapid growth and stretching of our conscience, and the realisation that, hang on, 2035 is not that far away anymore. 

Brunei is dependent on O&G which accounts for . . . pretty much everything. We have a singular economy. For better or for worse, we have not diversified, and this period of low oil prices brings this cold reality into sharp focus. These are unnerving times. Some say that these low prices are the best thing that has happened to Brunei in a while, like a strange blessing in disguise. Like an alarm clock waking a child from slumber. Like caffeine jolting our central nervous system. 

I have written this post a thousand times in my mind before. I have never shared it because it feels like a speech with no conclusion. But I share this with you today, because it is important to lift up things that matter to us, and Brunei matters to me.

Today, I remind myself that it is okay and not always necessary to wrap our thoughts up in a neat bow. It is okay not to have a conclusion. What is more important is that we speak up about things that matter to us. That we keep an open mind. That we are prepared to hear different perspectives. That we don't react. That we don't get all defensive. That we take our conversations deeper. That we debate strategically.

Moving forward, let's think critically. Let's pray fervently. Let's act decisively. 

We cannot rest on our laurels.

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