Friday Oct 18

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Meet Chester - Universiti Brunei Darussalam graduate currently in Melbourne.

What do you do?

In terms of work, I'm not actually doing anything as of right now, but I have worked part-time as an English tutor and lecturer. I consider my vocation to be teaching, and it is what I see myself doing in the future as well.

Describe yourself in three words.

Complicated, analytical, yet easygoing.

Where did you grow up?

Born and raised in Bandar Seri Begawan. Love it.

You completed your undergraduate studies at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. What did you study? And...weren't you one of their 'models'?

Yep, somehow people never forget that, haha! I did a four year Bachelors degree in Education, majoring in the Teaching of English as a Second Language, or TESL for short - graduated in 2008. (Incidentally, I was in the same batch as Maurina, one of your previous features. She's a great person; one of my fave people in the world.) Right now I'm pursuing a Masters degree in Communication and Media Studies at Monash University in Melbourne. A slight detour from my foundation in education, but I see it as more of a diversification of sorts...just a way to broaden my horizons as an educator.

Source: Universiti Brunei Darussalam Postgraduate website 

List three highlights from your time at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).

First - the solitude and serenity of the UBD campus. Early in the morning, or even in the afternoons, the UBD campus is a really great place because it's so peaceful. And I have always loved the fact that there is plenty of greenery, and that everything is within walking distance. 

Second - the sense of camaraderie that I built with my course mates. The days when we would all colour-code our outfits, or the many TESL lunches we would have, or panicking together over unfinished assignments. It is those days you miss once you graduate.

Third, and most importantly - the lecturers. Get to know your lecturers because they are the ones who will make or break the experience for you. If you are lucky, some of them will grow to become mentors and even close friends. One of my favourite people in the world was one of my lecturers in my first year. I didn't like her much in that first year, but over the years I saw that she's an awesome person, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for her.

 

What is life like in Melbourne, and what do you miss about Brunei?

Life in Melbourne so far is good. I have learnt a lot in the few weeks or so that I have been here, thanks to my two housemates, who incidentally are also from Brunei, haha. So we have that in common. I have been exploring the city and also familiarizing myself with the bus and train routes. The thing I miss the most so far about Brunei is the heat. I know some people love the cold, but if given a choice, I would take Brunei heat over cold weather any day! I also miss the food culture back home. Food is so cheap and easy. But most of all, I simply miss being home, which is what Brunei will always be. I cannot believe I missed His Majesty's birthday!

Also, I am a recent convert to "barefoot" running. Not that I run around barefoot (I am too afraid of hurting my feet), but I am now a proud owner of Vibram Five Fingers. You’ve heard of toe socks? Well, these are toe shoes! They're designed to allow barefoot running whilst protecting your feet. I can feel every pebble on the ground and every crack in the pavement. They are also designed to be used in a variety of environments, and they can even get wet, so wearing them to the beach is totally possible. I cannot wait to wear them back home in Brunei!

 

Recommend two blogs for us to check out.

One of them is http://august13th.wordpress.com. Great guy, and a local foodie. If you want local insight on great local food, this is the place. The other blog (also kind of a foodie blog) is http://yournutritionista.com. I love her outlook on food and nutrition. Funny, informative, healthy, yet...tasty.

Name your favourite restaurant in Brunei, and which dish do you recommend?

Fave? But there are so many! Many restaurants have their own signature dish, you know? I will recommend the dish instead. The Mushroom Bacon Volcano in Manjaro, Kiulap. I always have that when I go there. The menu is admittedly different from a few years back (I miss my steaks!), but the MBV is still a staple which I go back to.

Name a 'must-visit' place in Brunei, and why.

The Royal Regalia. I know most (if not all) Bruneians have been there already, but it is such a great repository of our monarchy's and our country's history. I have always been a history buff and fan of museums, but it was not until this year that I became fascinated with the history of Brunei and how far we have come as a nation. The Royal Regalia intrigues me every time I go there. It's one of my fave places to roam about in. And best of all, it's free!

What do you hope to achieve in three years' time?

I hope to be a part of my alma mater, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, as a lecturer, possibly at The Language Center, helping to educate the students there just as I was educated by those before me. It has been a goal of mine ever since I joined UBD all those years ago.

Chester was also one of the winners of the 'Your Brunei' Twitter photograph contest.


Editor's Note: You may also recall reading about Chester Keasberry on RanoAdidas' site. Yup, Chester is a whiz on Guitar Hero...which he plays in E-X-P-E-R-T. His favourite GH track to play to is Through The Fire And Flames by Dragonforce from Guitar Hero 3. When asked why, he replied "No Guitar Hero song has managed to surpass it thus far in terms of sheer awesomeness." Make sure you also check out Chester's blog, and of course, follow him on Twitter - @jadesimian.
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