Sunday Sep 24

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Meet Wardah, a sporty Bruneian scholar in Singapore

Wardah_Singapore_ProfWhat do you do?

Currently, I am doing my diploma course in Math & Science in NUS High School of Math & Science. I know, it has looong name right. Heheh, well, Here in Singapore, I play sports (my friends say I am crazy because although I have school or whatsoever earlier on, I will still do my sports), love to try new things, do spontaneous activities. If there is community involvement programme activity conducted during the weekends, I love volunteering myself.

Describe yourself in a few words.

Enthusiastic, a good listener and sociable. heheh (:

How long have you been away from Brunei, and what do you miss most about Brunei?

I have been away from Brunei since December 2007 but I visit Brunei four times (max) a year. (Singapore is not that far. :p) I actually miss the pace of life and the food the most! Here in Singapore, everything seems to go very fast. In Brunei we have a laid-back kind of life, we get to relax our mind and we feel very peaceful being home!

Why did you choose to study in Singapore?

When I was in Secondary 3 in MS, the school introduced us to this scholarship at NUS High in Singapore. Since NUS High School specializes in Math and Science, I was keen to go for this scholarship as I have an interest in Math. So... I was thinking it was a golden opportunity! I went for NUS High's written test and successfully passed the interview. They sent me off after I finished my PMB.

The scholarships were offered to us while we were still very young (I was 14 back then). I learned how to be independent and I got to explore another country! It has been a really good experience! :)

Are there many other Bruneian students in Singapore?

Yes, there are. There are 17 of us here in my school. I have seniors at Temasek Polytechnic, NUS, NAFA and other colleges. We do hang out together during our free time. We have gone bowling, for barbeques, ice skating, movies, picnics at Sentosa, night cycling at East Coast Park and even exploring Pulau Ubin. Whenever there are events, we meet each other for rehearsals at the Brunei High Commission. We have also formed a students group named SingaBru Students Association. Though it is quite new, I am proud to be part of it! :D The most recent event we all participated in was the Asean Gala Night 2011.

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List a few favourite hang-out spots and eateries for the students in Singapore.

Favourite hang-out spots? Let me see. Outside Esplanade. From there, you get to see Marina Bay Sands, the Singapore Flyer, the city scenery at Raffles Place and not to forget the beautiful sea surrounding those places! Moreover, the Outside Espanade is chilly. The air is fresh. There is platform for performances outside the Esplanade where you can relax. It is a nice place to hang out and recall old days. There is also a hawker centre near that area.  The food sold there is extremely yummy! I love their carrot cake, the nicest I have ever eaten so far! Also, don't miss the satay at Lau Pa Sat Festival Market at Raffles Quay as well.

Another favourite hang-out spot is Vivocity's rooftop. It has a really a big area for you to dance, or do whatever you like! There is huge amphitheatre and Vivocity faces Sentosa and the sea as well.

Are there a few 'must-visit' events or places for students for a true Singapore experience?

Well...recently the General Elections took place! As for ‘must-visit’ places I would recommend Bugis where they still maintain their old vintage buildings. It provides good contrast to how Singapore has progressed.

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Describe student-life in Singapore.

Accommodation: I tell you, almost everything here is expensive! Even though our currencies are pegged, things are more expensive here. For us on scholarship, accommodation is not really a problem (the accommodation fees are being paid by the Brunei government). The NUS High School provides boarding for foreign students. The boarding school is located in the school compound; there is a direct path between the boarding school and the school itself so we get to wake up later. lol) This is for NUS High School Brunei scholars.

From what I hear from my seniors, other scholars need to rent houses here. Rent is about $1,400 per month shared between three people. This does not include bills which range from $300 - $500. You do the math how much one person needs to pay. So, I think, I should be grateful for privileges I have now.

Transport: Well, this was a new experience! In Brunei, you can go from place to place using your own car pretty quickly! Here I need to use the public transportation system - buses and MRTs. We use the Ezlink card for students which saves us a lot.

Food: For NUS High School Brunei Scholars, breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided. During weekdays, we buy our own lunch from the canteen. For Muslims, just take note, you need to be careful and make sure there is a Halal label!

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Where do you see yourself in three years?

In three years I see myself doing a degree in the UK or Australia. InsyaAllah.

Any shout-outs for family and friends back in Brunei?

To my family and friends out there, you guys know how much I miss you here. Thanks for supporting me all the way until now. Without your support, I won’t be able to survive here! And to Bruneians back home, don’t take things for granted. Let’s work hard for the sake of our country.


Editor's Note: "Uniquely Singapore", "Surprising Singapore", "Your Singapore" and "Live it up in Singapore" are just some Singaporean taglines. It is many things to different people. For many Bruneians, it is a shopping oasis, a transit hub, a family getaway, an academic centrepoint, an end of year retreat, a home away from home.

This is Wardah's Bruneian - Singaporean story. I followed and got to know Wardah, a.k.a. @WarHMD on Twitter; she is yet another Bruneian on a long list of rising stars. All the best Wardah. Keep shining.

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