Brunei times essay writing competition 2010
About this book Introduction This book provides an overview of the linguistic situation in Brunei, including a historical overview and a synopsis of the current education system. It investigates pronunciation, particularly the intelligibility of Brunei English and the vowels of Brunei Mandarin, and it also describes the acquisition of Malay grammar, Malay politeness strategies, the use of language online, language in the courts, a comparison of Malay and English newspapers, the language of shop signs, the status of Dusun, and lastly, English literature in Brunei.
The chapters show how these languages operate in social interactions, education, the courtroom, the media, on the web, and in literature. Editors and affiliations. Buy options. Elizabeth Scanlon lived in Brunei in and elsewhere in Borneo for much longer. Some persons are of interest because of their family connections. Pride of place here belongs, perhaps, to Lady Milverton , whose husband, Mr. Richards subsequently raised to the peerage was Governor of North Borneo fully eighty years ago. Dione Clementi was the daughter of the former High Commissioner for Brunei contemporary as such with Mr.
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Lindsey and Steiner Bandar Seri Begawan. Another stabilising factor is the oil- and gas-funded high living standards. Poems and patriotic songs, such as those played in state-media during the Sultan's three week-long birthday celebrations, similarly emphasise his benevolence and artistically reproduce the caring monarch motif. And with compelling arguments: There is no personal income tax, a pension is provided for all citizens from the age of 60, education and medical services are largely free except private clinics , and the state provides numerous social services.
With his promotion of the rule of law, justice and accountability, his rule comes closer to what Turner calls soft-authoritarianism in the Singaporean context.
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To be sure, the media-scape is controlled and ideologically streamlined, and Brunei witnessed six decades of systematically de-politicising the population following a rebellion in Also, Brunei's small population , inhabitants adds to its controllability. As a bureaucratic categorical scheme, MIB is at the very heart of the state's attempted exercise of classificatory power. MIB became gradually institutionalised, and Brunei-specific notions of Melayu , Islam, and the monarchy became translated into the language of bureaucracy. The APB was established in the same year, with overlapping purposes and personnel.
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This double-structure, a crucial site for MIB knowledge-production, continues to exist today. For citizens, the MIB modules have become obligatory for obtaining degrees.
In , MIB became a compulsory school subject it had been part of curricula since , Dewan Majlis The contents of MIB teaching have been modified over time — regrettably, no study has yet systematically examined this doctrinal meaning-production and its historical genesis. It prepares curricula and teaching materials, alongside publications for the public. Systematic publishing began in , although texts conceptualising MIB existed earlier e. MIB bureaucrats themselves reflect upon how its propagation has undergone reorientations; for example, MIB is now taught in a more interactive and activating manner, resembling transnational pedagogical trends.
I have observed MIB teaching in , where transnationally inspired up-to-date didactic methods were applied. MIB teaching now also extends to previously less explored fields, such as environment protection, which, as the same teacher argued, would be essentially Islamic and Malay.
By educationally empowering these groups to themselves empower MIB in society, the authorities seek to make the BoI transcend its institutional boundaries: MIB should not simply be state-dictated and obeyed, but society should actively strengthen it, and thus co-produce the state's classificatory power.
Thus, Bruneian citizens are extensively exposed to the MIB discourse and its normative expectations for public and private behaviour. They are not only subject to control and disciplining mechanisms, but also to the everyday didactics and contents of MIB discourse. Even those who circumvent or deliberately resist the state's pedagogical aspirations can rarely evade being affected by its symbolic power and classification. For Bruneians below 40 — the generation that underwent MIB education — being MIB citizens and being expected to present themselves as such has become inscribed, to varying extents, into their habitus.
This is often accompanied by hidden transcripts, negotiations and insecurities also among MIB propagators ; nevertheless, MIB discourse, which is integral to Brunei's BoI, deeply penetrates their lifeworlds and subject formation. Unlike in other countries where Muslim institutional actors and interpretations openly coexist and compete, Brunei has zero public space for non-state Islamic organisations or voices. The government and bureaucracy legally enjoy the exclusive right to publicly speak about and publish about Islam.
Islamic scholars are, by definition, civil servants. Islam-related publications from abroad are screened before they can be distributed, which can take months, as officers told me.
One exception, the supposedly apolitical Sunni orthodox Tablighi Jamaat, is not classified as deviant, but it cannot establish its own registered organisation, mosques or media, and involved individuals are monitored. The MIB Supreme Council is entrenched in a wider bureaucratic assemblage of institutions enacting so-called Islamisation policies.
It also manages the Sharia judiciary, which exists parallel to a British-derived Civil judiciary.
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With a budget of BND Mio. The Mufti is Brunei's chief interpreter of Islam. His office holds the exclusive authority of issuing of fatwas Islamic legal opinions and transgressions are punishable with up to two years imprisonment under the Syariah Penal Code Order Perintah Kanun Hukuman Jenayah Syari'ah, , henceforth SPCO, Section Whereas fatwas elsewhere are most often non-binding advisory opinions, the State Mufti's fatwas enjoy the force of state law. The State Mufti regularly explains doctrinal views on matters of daily life, often in response to citizens requesting a fatwa , sometimes on television.
His office's Friday prayer sermons khutbah , read in all mosques, frequently address and justify government policies and remind the public of its religious duty to support the government. The bureaucracy conceptualises the Sultan as the leader of the Muslim believers ulil amri and khalifah Allah's vice-regent in Brunei. This points to the religious dimension of the reciprocal relationship between the Sultan and his subjects.
The MoRA, the State Mufti Department and the MIB Supreme Council are the authoritative forces in producing the BoI's official — that is, doctrinal and textually formalised — meanings which, of course, also unfold beyond textual language. These official meanings are related to, but must be distinguished from, its social meanings that social actors ascribe to and derive from the official discourse equally transcending text, although this cannot be substantially addressed here.
It sums up two locally powerful themes. The second is the banning of supernatural traditions that long have been and often remain central to Malay everyday life. The latter, in the now hegemonic logic, is not a question of freedom of religious practice and thus potentially tolerable, but of protecting the very essence of Islam and Muslim souls facing Judgement Day. The following sections address this second theme. A red line is crossed where Muslims attempt to contact the deceased or other spirits as intermediaries to convey wishes to God, nowadays considered a sin syirik that leads to divine punishments, and generally where uncontrolled ceremonies are held at such places.
Nowadays, the Malay mainstream similarly views many banned traditions as either deviant or outdated.
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This view was fostered by state-Islamic education, but also takes inspiration from bottom-up trends of Islamic resurgence, which have transformed ways of being Muslim across the Malay world, also albeit to lesser extents in countries without similar policies. Other deviant-declared practices are certain Malay customs adat in fields like wedding ceremonies Abdul Mufidah , dances, and dress.watch
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A khutbah Mosque Affairs Department recently told Muslims not to shake hands with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouses or certain relatives mahram — an instruction that many, including state elites, ignored, 15 and which is not enforced. In other fields, the bureaucracy takes action. Bomoh , as a social institution, and certain individuals in particular have always been surrounded by ambivalence, due to their simultaneously fascinating and suspicious access to invisible worlds Peletz Thus, this socio-legal transformation pushed forward by bureaucratic religious actors is not a historical rupture per se , although the changes at play are dramatic.
Notwithstanding these normative shifts, beliefs in the omnipresent workings of sorcery sihir are still a social reality, as this section will ethnographically illustrate. During a car ride in , a married couple of two religiously observant Bruneians, both postgraduate students, whom I had known for years, shared their personal experiences with me.
Others had seen it too, and her father told her to come into the house immediately. Such fireballs, she explained, are known to be the result of the workings of sorcerers tukang sihir — specifically non-Muslim Iban, but any sorcerer could learn it. Tijah recalled her father saying that when such a ball is nearby, a person will be harmed or die.
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The fireball would be related to a spirit controlled by the sorcerer, which must be fed with human lives. Tijah had seen such fireballs twice. Other interlocutors confirmed the concept's existence in social imaginaries. The couple narrated several such stories.