We Bruneians take our country for granted. We don't appreciate what we have. We have so much to savour, so much to enjoy. Many people would pay the earth to get what we have. Yet we complain about Brunei, we complain that there is nothing to see and nothing to do in Brunei.
My wife and I were guests at the Japanese Ambassador last night for dinner. I won't describe the dinner but the usual Japanese food - sushi, sashimi, tempura, noodles were all there. My favourite Japanese food is always tempura and early this year I discovered Udon. So, there were all there for the dinner. During the dinner conversation, we discovered just how extensively the Ambassador had been throughout the country. I was very embarrased that he can describe more about Brunei than I can. And I thought I was a wide read Bruneian compared to most.
The Ambassador was describing about his hobby hiking through woodlands. One of his favourite was a trip he took to Sukang. He was searching for this hot water spring in the interior and his guide took him to Sukang from where he took another boatride for around 2 hours before reaching his destination. From there he had to hike about a couple of hours and swim across a river before getting to where the hot spring was. Unfortunately he could not make it as it was getting dark and adventurous though he was, he was unprepared to spend the night in the jungle. However one of his Japanese friends went and discovered that the river even though not as wide happened to have a baby crocodile. The guide stopped him swimming across as baby crocodile will have mother crocodile somewhere.
The Ambassador described a number of other places in Brunei that I did not even know exist including a butterfly collection taken from the Mount Pagon area. He described Brunei as full of interesting places to visit. This is what gets me. It takes an outsider to appreciate our country - the country we live in. Most of us can talk about Singapore or Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok or even some, Beijing etc and we can recall the various shopping centres and good places to visit. However when outsiders come and talk to us and ask where they should go and what they should do. We will describe the Istana, the Royal Regalia, the two mosques, the Handicraft Centre and a couple of other places and when ask to describe more than that official standard list, most of us have difficulties. We don't even know about the hotwater spring, let alone how to get there.
Maybe this is a good time for me to remind you as well as remind me about the need to be more widely read about Brunei and to be our own country's tourists before we start going out of Brunei.