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Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People

Thursday, 20 December 2012 17:33

Profile Pic - EiaWhat do you do?

I am currently in my second year of a BA in Performing Arts, majoring in Pop Vocals. In my free time? Honestly, besides university and rehearsals? I like to curl up on my bed a watch a good movie. Probably a chick flick! But yes, I do go out, mostly to watch gigs done by friends and other artists. I also enjoy writing songs, reading new books and collecting CDs! Say NO to piracy.

Describe yourself in a few words.

Bubbly, outgoing, and optimistic :)

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

I have been away from Brunei since 2010 (did a Foundation in Performance first) and I would have to say that I miss my family and friends the most. But if I didn’t count that, then DEFINITELY the food. I miss the food so much! And how reasonably priced it is! (Thanks, now I am really craving some Nasi Katok and Thien Thien Chicken Rice :( not to mention Escapade and Lé Taj’s Indian food…)

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

Hmmm… if I were to bring you around in Singapore, I would most probably bring you on a food hunt. That is something you cannot not do if you come here. Other than that,  I would recommend coming during the times where there are Music Festivals going on, like “Timbré Rock and Roots”, “F1 Concerts”, “Music Matters”… not just because I am a musician, but because the vibe that you get is something you cannot experience in Brunei. Plus, you get to watch awesome shows! Coming back to the food… there are tons of tourist-y places, yes. But thanks to my local friends, I have discovered all of the little coffee shops and eating places that you would not normally step into. And oh! You should really hit Gardens by the Bay – it’s beautiful!

When did your musical journey start?

Really, really start? At the age of three. I started doing JMC (Junior Music Course) at YAMAHA, and then Piano at age five. I then started the violin and only in 2008 did I start proper vocal lessons. PJC Music School believed in me then, and granted me a Vocal Scholarship.

Click in the picture link below to hear a preview of "Hello World" by Maria Grace, a.k.a. Eia

Maria Radio 2

"With my dad, my producer and manager and sound engineer in Thailand"

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"With a few friends after recent workshop"

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What / When was your first public performance? What has been the highlight of your musical journey to date.

My first public performance was probably during a Piano Recital at YAMAHA when I was three, but other than that my first major performance would probably have to be Expression Music’s “The Dream Begins”, first major concert in their amazing chain of concerts they have done at The Empire Theatre / Jerudong Park.

Highlight of my musical journey to date… definitely working on my Album with the best team anyone could ever ask for. Performance wise, there are a few that I would have to name. The Jerudong International School (JIS) Concerts – if not for JIS, I definitely would not be the artist I am today. Singing In front of Prince Charles and Princess Camilla with the JIS Orchestra was priceless! As for Singapore, it was awesome performing with the LASALLE Rhythm Ensemble at Esplanade for the Sun Festival in 2010, being a part of the short set on the Roof Garden of MBS and doing charity concerts.

What opportunities has being in Singapore presented you with?

Singapore has really widened my perspective of the music industry, especially because in Brunei gigs and such are not common. I have done gigs and charity concerts here and there; these have introduced me to the most amazing musicians.

The BIGGEST opportunity Singapore has presented me with, was LASALLE bringing in my first producer, Joseph Curiale (composer and conductor for Santana, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross… to name a few) in. Thankfully I was brave enough to approach him after his talk, and he agreed to give me feedback on my songs and he really liked them! It was after this, that all of the recording stuff happened, getting introduced to Chris Craker (most recently the General Manager and Senior Vice President of the International Division of Sony BMG Masterworks) took place.

"My friends and I after watching Stevie Wonder at Java Jazz Music Festival, Jakarta"

Maria 1

"One of the many pictures I've taken of my fav artists at their concerts"

Maria 2

Friday, 14 December 2012 14:53
Thursday, 13 December 2012 12:57

Greetings Readers! Last week I was in Yangon, Myanmar together with my workmates for the ASEAN 100 Leadership (read more about the Forum here and here) there. There were many special moments, but two stand out - visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda and watching Nobel Laureate and Chairperson of the National League for Democracy, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi deliver the ASEAN 100 oration. It was truly one of those trips which mark one's life. Below are some photographs from the trip and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's oration in its entirety.

Some photographs from my time at the Shwedagon Pagoda

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Photographs of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, courtesy of Asia Inc Forum

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It has always been my intention that we should move closer to our neighbours. This was always the vision of my father way back in 1947 before he died. He thought of a united Asian "federation" if you like. He went as far as that. He wanted the Asian countries to come together and stand together with the problems of the modern world, the modern world of 1947 is of course not the modern world of 2012. Times have changed, we have changed, the region has changed. But I think the need for greater harmony, the need for greater cooperation and the need for peace will never change as long as this world lasts.

I've been asked to speak on resilience in a turbulent time. First I would like to look at what it means by "turbulence". What are "turbulent times"? Turbulence, by this definition means lack of tranquillity. It means agitation, it means clashes, it means conflict, it means movement that are not in a positive direction. And yet you can look at turbulence as interaction as well. Perhaps not the calmest kind of interaction, but interaction of a kind. So it is up to us to make the best of turbulence. To draw lessons from turbulence that will help us to achieve our goals of harmony, or peace, progress and prosperity, of cooperation, of a world where we created unity out of diversity. Diversity is very precious, it is precious to me personally and it is precious to our nation because we are a nation made up of many peoples.

We are a nation made up of many ethnic minorities, I'm proud of our diversity, I'm glad to say that we are a nation of many peoples. But I would be prouder if we could say that we are a nation united, a united nation, a union of many peoples. We have yet to make such a declaration proudly and confidently, and we have to move towards that goal where we can say we are a union of many different peoples.

There is turbulence in our country now, and there has been turbulence in the past. The nature of turbulence changes. When I first entered politics in 1988. I entered it as one of those working for democracy and human rights. Because I believe in the value of human rights and democratic institutions. It was not because I wished to take anybody's part in particular. I would not even like to look upon myself as a "champion of the people".  I would simply like to see myself, as somebody who believes in basic human rights and democratic institutions, and who would try her best to promote these in my own country.

When we started out on the road to democracy, it was turbulent in a sense that we had to face many dangers; we had to face many challenges. The government of that time was not particularly interested in granting human rights or democratic rights to the peoples and we had to fight for those rights. And that is where turbulence is created, the clash between the authorities and those who wished to promote human rights and democracy. And where do the great number of people in our country stand? Where were they in this pattern of turbulence? The great majority of them wanted their basic rights, but they did not even realize that what they were wanting were basic human rights. They simply understood that they wanted to be secure, they wanted to be free from want and fear, but they did not know that freedom from want and fear were basic to the united nations, universal declaration of human rights. So part of our world was to teach them that their desires were legitimate , that their very simple wants , that their very simple aspirations were not only right but supported by the great and wise of the world. That after the Second World War, those in power and those in positions to think and to try to find answers had come to the conclusion that freedom from want and fear, respect for human dignity were essential for our world to be free from turbulence. A world that had recently suffered the great turbulence of the Second World War.

So our task then, was to teach the people that their aspirations were legitimate and that they had to work for them. Throughout my message has been: "No hope without endeavour". If you want to realize your hopes you have to work for them, and that's where resilience came in. Resilience is more than mere endurance. Resilience denotes recovery. The ability to recover. That means that an endeavour on your part a conscious effort that you will overcome the challenges that you will have to face. That you will be able to meet these challenges not only with courage and endurance, but intelligence. Recovery needs intelligence.

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About the Editor

new about me profI am a born and bred Bruneian who lived and worked in Australia for over 10 years. I am now based in Brunei. Having spent time away from Brunei, I have learnt that, to know a country is to know the people. To truly appreciate a new place is to see it through their eyes, to listen to their stories, to taste, smell, do and feel as they do.

Everyone has a Story, and this blog - Projek Brunei, features the stories, music, photography and art of locals and of people who have lived or worked in Brunei before. Join me on this project, a project to discover and rediscover this country they call the Abode of Peace, the Heart of Borneo, this place they call the Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures...through the stories of the People.

You may know me by my online moniker, @BruneiTweet. I created BruneiTweet in 2009, and currently (February 2016), I have over 24,000 followers. I am passionate about community, and use social media to connect with people - both on and offline.

I have an MBA, a keen interest in business-development and marketing, and I am a three-time TEDx speaker. I believe in the power of social media and collaboration. I have worked alongside corporate organisations on various community projects. Some highlights from my journey to date: In 2011, I co-organised Twestival Brunei to raise awareness and funds for Brunei’s Child Development Centre. That year I also organised Convergence, Brunei’s first youth led leadership forum. In 2012, I co-organised Movember to raise awareness on men's health issues. In 2013, I participated at various forums including Brunei's National Environment Conference and the ASEAN Social Media Exchange in Thailand. In 2014, I was selected to represent Brunei at the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Programme. In 2015, I was involved as a panel moderator in an International Women's Day event, and was invited to speak at the Green Leaders Eco-Camp in Brunei about using social media with purpose.
 
But enough about me.

If you have something interesting to share with the rest of the world about Brunei or are interested in being featured on ProjekBrunei, reach me here or email me at bruneitweet@gmail.com.

I would love to hear your side of the story.

You, You and You

Something interesting to share with the rest of the world about Brunei? Interested in being featured on ProjekBrunei.com? Reach me here.