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Written by Delwin Keasberry Thursday, 11 July 2013 11:12

ProfWhat do you do?
I am a final year business student, doing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Curtin Sarawak.

Where are you from?
I am from Pakistan, though I was born in Europe and was raised in Brunei.

Describe yourself in a few words.
Driven, friendly, humble.

Tell us about Curtin Sarawak. Why did you decide to study there?
Curtin Sarawak is a very technical university, where whatever you are taught is applicable immediately in both daily life as well in your specific field of work. It differs from traditional universities, which focus on theoretical learning rather than practical application. The knowledge I am gaining here is realistically helpful to me and aids my ambitions in a very real way. I chose the Sarawak campus because it is close to home and cost effective.

Immediately applicable?
I mean that what you learn isn't just theory for the sake of writing it in exams to pass - you learn things you can actually apply at a practical level in life. This is for the business school. For the engineering school, studies are literally practical in the sense that there are indeed on field attachments and placements students can undergo with companies such as Shell.

What's the ratio of students to teacher per class?
For the business school which is what I am a part of, there are roughly minimum 50 - maximum 200 students maximum per lecture (taught by one lecturer), and around 20 - 40 students per tutorial.

Do you folks get a lot of 'homework'? Is there a balance to allow for study-life balance?
The homework we get depends on the course we are doing and the specific unit; it is not an unbearable amount but it does become a heavy workload as you enter your final years. I would say that, as at any university, you have to choose between the student trinity: study, university life, or sleep. Pick two.

That's me (second from right) involved in a public debate in the main foyer outside the main lecture theatre at Curtin Sarawak

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A few friends taking time out on the weekend to play DOTA

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A painting my friend did on the weekend. We usually end up doing random things like this to pass the time on weekends.

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What is it like as a student living in Miri?
Student life in Miri has been made easy by the university. There are bus services running daily except for Sundays to and from the university from the three different housing complexes the university owns, namely Curtin Villa, Curtin Village and Curtin Waters. There are buses that run on Fridays to help Muslim students like myself go for prayers. There are also buses that go to town at noon on Saturdays and return at 6.30pm, so that students may go relax at the malls, have something nice to eat and maybe catch a movie or do some shopping. I personally live off campus as it is better value for money for me, and I can opt to live with my friends. Living with friends helps a lot as you can support each other and life never gets dull. (Photograph: lying down in a hammock outside my friend's house to relax after a long day of classes)

Written by Delwin Keasberry Friday, 28 June 2013 15:06

Dan ProfWhat do you do?
I am originally from Malvern, Iowa which is a very small town in South-western Iowa but I moved to Des Moines, Iowa four years ago for college. I graduated in May 2011 from Drake University in Des Moines with Bachelor’s Degrees in Politics, International Relations, and Rhetoric.

I write about disability culture, covering topics ranging from dating and disabilities, to disability representations in music and film, to local politics and their influences on disability. I also pull a lot of my topics from personal experiences to try to have an open and honest discourse with my readers - link to blog here.

I have had Bilateral Hip Dysplasia since birth so I know that sometimes it can be hard for people to talk about their disabilities but I try to be open about mine in order to help other people with disabilities feel comfortable with my blog and our non-profit as a resource for them.

In the last two years, I worked at a Disability Rights non-profit law center and then received a research grant to move to Japan and study disability policy in Japan. So I went to a university in Japan for a year and now I am back in the United States. I start law school in New York this August.

Tell us a little about Malvern, Iowa.
Malvern is a very small town (pop. 1300 I believe) but I think it was a great place to grow up. My school was very small (35 students in my graduating class) but it was big on opportunity. Because it was small we could literally be in any and every activity we wanted to be in which is something I don’t think I could have had at a large school.

Even though I have lived in the city and have travelled a lot, I am still a country boy at heart. An ear of sweet corn can stop me dead in my tracks and every couple of months or so I make a pilgrimage to my family’s farm to just to lie in the middle of a field and count the stars. I have been a lot of places but I think the most beautiful night sky in the world is in rural Iowa.

Describe yourself in three words.
I always think the “describe yourself in three words” questions are the hardest ones to answer and it’s very hard to do without sounding pretentious. Hmmm, I guess if I had to pick three I would say I am passionate, compassionate, and open-minded. Allow me to elaborate.

When I find something I like I tend to throw myself into it completely and I can be very passionate about the things and issues I care about. I am always standing by with my soapbox ready to climb on get fired up.

I guess what I mean by this is I am usually up for anything. I will try anything once though admittedly I apply the motto “One and I’m done” to many of these experiences. I will try the weird looking food, hitchhike (which I did in Brunei when I visited), seek out little sketchy back-alley shops and hang-outs, you name it.

If we all eat the same, dress the same, act the same, etc…then I think life would be very boring. I have made it my personal mission not to live a boring life and that requires being open-minded.

Me being a guest teacher in my friend's elementary class in Tainan, Taiwan teaching them English using Spongebob Squarepants characters

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Me and the other students in my capstone research class in Japan

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On a guy's trip on a mountain overlooking the city we lived in in Japan

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Victoria Memorial, India

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Riding in a rickshaw in India

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A home for boys with disabilities I visited in India

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Stumbled upon a rural family in India while lost driving through the countryside

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You visited Brunei in 2011. Why did you decide to visit?
I was in Brunei just for tourism in 2011. I have wanted to visit Brunei for a few years now. During my travels through the region, I made sure Brunei was on my list. I studied International Relations with a focus on Asia and in one of my classes we had an energy-policy simulation and the country I represented was Brunei. By researching for my weekly debates I learned a little about Brunei and found it fascinating. Brunei just seemed like a place that would be great to experience first-hand. The religion, politics, and society are all very different from that in the United States and I think the best way to learn about something like that is through first-hand experience so I bought my ticket and went for it.

Written by Delwin Keasberry Friday, 10 May 2013 14:31

shiizcandies-logo2What's the story behind "Shiiz Candies"?
It is a husband and wife company, which we always wanted to start. Our vision is to be a one stop place/diner for anyone who wants a taste of the other side of the world, particularly the USA. We are more focused on this region as it has a lot to offer and that it is quite unique and can easily be accepted by our local tongue.

Who are we? For the most part I am the front man (Hafiiz Ar) of the business and not only do I do the initial cooking, my skill sets varies to the marketing and designing for the ads and other area of the business as well, and as for my wife Sajidah Abdullah, other than being the baker for Shiiz Candies, she has brought her calculative skills to the financial side of the business and see where/how we can further develop business.

A lot of people thought that the word "Shiiz" came for an abbreviation of our name, but in actual fact it came from Snoop Dogg (the rapper) way of describing certain things or action as "The Best" for example "Them hot wings are tha Shiiznit!" ... I decided to drop the "nit" but still keep the original word as a guidance to what we want to achieve, which is to be "The Best".

What motivated you to launch Shiiz Candies?

Like most things in life, family support is important, and with that in April 2012 my wife and I decided to start an online business, we started of selling cupcakes and sweet treats to family and friends and slowly build our customer base, through their continuous support and constructive criticism we moved forward positively.

And when I was in States for a two week trip, I had an epiphany while I was immersing myself with some Hot Buffalo Wings from Zaxby's. I said to myself "If cupcakes could be sold online, why not wings?" then I started to examine how they made these intensely flavourful wings, you could say I was studying every single bite! So as soon as I got back to Brunei, I made the decision with my wife, that we would change the business and that I am certain that this will work! Somehow I convinced her that this will change up the market and again that motivated us.



What are three lessons you have learnt so far from your entrepreneurial journey?

1) Be humble and be nice - Show great interest in everyone and take in every word they say, and the real secret is never look down at anyone that you meet as we are all human being and we are the greatest asset. Treat others as you wish to be treated and you will succeed in life.

2) Have a positive attitude and be professional - I believe in the law of attraction and that to have positive attitude, energy, thoughts and action...these shape up and reflect the outcome of what we do.

3) Appreciation and gratitude - it is very important to be thankful for all that has happened.

What are your three top sellers?

1) Hotlanta Wings "Brunei's Premier Hot Wings" with only three signature sauces and two of which are originally named Sissy and Bloody Spicy Wings. Furthermore, this is where we start the niche of selling Hot Wings online and we are thankful and humbled by it as it has emerge as a trend-setter, it is so popular that a few other vendors made the jump to sell similar Hot Wings on FB and IG and with that we can only hope a lot more will join in. we are looking forward to what everyone has to offer in a positive way.

2) Hotlanta Cheesesteaks "Brunei's #1 Cheesesteaks" which similarly come in three sauces - Sissy, Bloody spicy and Mushroom. This is an original Shiiz Candies spin-off of the "Philly cheesesteaks" (which is by the way, a must for everyone to have if they visit the States!)

3) Maine Shrimp Roll -  This is a very different and again a niche, as this is more of a gourmet type of sandwich. It is fresh shrimp laid between hot buttered buns.

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MARCH CheeseSteak

Written by Delwin Keasberry Tuesday, 16 April 2013 16:54

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Greeting Readers! Recently I submitted a story to CrossFit and it got posted up on the Reebok CrossFit Games website. On that point, it got shared across the CrossFit Games and Asia Regional Fan Pages too (!). Here's a sneak peek.

I had just attempted 13.5. I was cooling down. And then I thought, “I think I will try doing a bar muscle-up”. Bam! On Friday 5th April 2013, I got it. My first bar muscle-up.

If you CrossFit, you would have a similar story. It may not be about a muscle-up, but we all have a CrossFit story. This is mine, a story about firsts. We all have a first story.

The first time I tried CrossFit. My first time attempting Grace. My first burpee. My first time in a Box. My first palm-rip. My first pair of Nanos. My first triple-under. The first time I watched Rich Froning Jr. The first time I fell in love with Julie Foucher. The first time I managed Fran under 10 minutes. The list of ‘firsts’ goes on.

I proudly train at Brunei’s first CrossFit affiliate – GetFit CrossFit. The CrossFit seeds were planted when founding members, Coach Rory Teo and Coach Gavin Sekhon stumbled upon it via YouTube in 2009. After digesting videos and articles about CrossFit, hours of home WODs, they went on to get their Level 1 Certification in CrossFit Perth in Australia. Soon after, the core team grew to include Coaches Gary Sekhon, Mas Idris and Haadi Samid. GetFit CrossFit held their first public session outdoors on the track-and-field grounds of University Brunei Darussalam in December 2010.

My CrossFit journey started on those very tartan tracks mid-2011. Up until that point, I considered myself a ‘healthy’ guy. I had an active lifestyle, I had gone through a ‘gym’ phase so I loosely understood what lifting weights were about, I ran every other day. It was a balmy Tuesday afternoon. My maiden WOD was a combination of air-squats, sprints, sit-ups and burpees. I do not mean to sound dramatic, but that one WOD unraveled me. “What just happened?” I was lying prone, sucking the wind and my body felt like it was on fire. I have been doing CrossFit ever since.


Photograph by Izam Hj Ahmad

Read the rest of the story here.

Written by Delwin Keasberry Thursday, 07 March 2013 14:36

Greetings Readers! A week ago around 30 of us from Brunei flew over to Singapore for the Men's Health Singapore Urbanathlon 2013. In case you are unfamiliar with the race, it's a 14km run peppered with a number of obstacles along the way. Traditionally a men's only race (read about last year's event here), this year it was opened up to women as well. All up, over 3,000 people braved the race.

Why did I take part? It is one of the things about the human spirit - to see how far we can push ourselves physically and mentally. Singaporean parathletes Adam Kamis ("One Arm Runner") and Shariff Abdullah ("Singapore Blade Runner") took part in the race to help raise awareness of other local disabled athletes. Others of course, took part in it just for the fun of it!

If you have not yet taken part in an Urbanathlon, I recommend you experience it. Here are some photographs from the event (taken with an iPhone 4S).

The race pack

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Warming up with GetFit CrossFit

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Bumped into Mr Channel News Asia, Brunei's own Steven Lai

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We got to met Oli Pettigrew

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People! People every where!

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Post-race photographs with others from Brunei

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You, You and You

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