Cultural Notes and Observations: Brunei

  • Brunei feels extremely safe
  • The people are very friendly and always say “Hello!”
  • The men are very clean shaven
  • Many people offered to drive us places because the public transportation is so poor
  • The bus system is inefficient. Infrequent buses only cover a minimal number of routes. Designated stops and the ticket is only valid for 1 trip.
  • It is illegal to drink (unless you are a tourist and bring your own alcohol into the country)
  • In the downtown of Bandar Seri Begawan the streets are spotless, no music can be heard from the shops (because one must be able to hear a mosque from any point in the city), and the city streets are mostly void of people after 7:00pm
  • No building is permitted to be taller than a mosque
  • It seems like most socializing is done in people’s homes
  • There is absolutely no nightlife – the downtown core is deserted by 7:00pm
  • Beautiful mosques (although we did not have a chance to go inside because they are used so regularly for prayers)
  • Young girls, even 4 years old, wear hijabs
  • Even when swimming, one must wear conservative clothing. I witness a mother wearing a hijab in a pool.
  • The cuisine and beverages are largely the same as the rest of Malaysia
  • Some Arabic script on signs
  • Most people speak English

 

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