2 years or 730 days or 17, 520 hours, or 1, 051,200 minutes in Brunei
By Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto
5 March 2008. I came in Brunei.
In two years of my stay in Brunei, here are the quotes I thought best to describe my experiences.
Brunei is Green and serene.
Homesickness is a normal feeling. As long as you can contain and fight the feeling, you wouldn’t need a rope to hang yourself or an extra chair to assist you from jumping on top of the building.
The moon amazes my night. The sun wakes me up. But nothing beats the invincible hands of loneliness.
Families are our greatest ally in whatever battles we face locally and globally.
They call it Nasilemak. It costs one dollar. It’s practical. It’s good enough to pacify one’s hunger. It is a basis of how far your salary can go up or down.
Monkeys are everywhere. They can talk, stalk and sometimes tease you on the street. They also flirt at times.
You go to work. You go home. You go to work. You go home. You get fat and so does your pocket.
365 days is like forever especially when you’re longing for your family.
On your first year, life abroad is 95% work and 5% leisure. After a year, life abroad is 5% work and 95 % leisure. Is it?
Going home in the Philippines is blissful to your heart and soul. But not on your pockets. And you say, the hell with money? You can’t bring it in your grave. Reality bites, save for yourself.
Brunei has an unpredictable weather. Sometimes it rains, sometimes, it’s so freakin hot. Dance with it. It’s the norm even at your workplace.
There’s no TFC or Pinoy TV in Brunei. But simply watch two Filipinos talking and that’s definitely a spectacular sight to remind how Pinoy TV operates.
They say it is a dry country. But for a thirsty alcoholic, a visit at Kuala Lurah is an answered prayer to the drought.
Day off is much awaited. It is a time to reconnect with our kababayans.
Indeed, Catholicism speaks Tagalog. Just see the church on Sundays and you’ll ever thought the Philippines is in Brunei.
For some, a virtual environment is opted as a space for love and longingness.
Abuse is felt at different levels. Most of it is done discreetly.
Blood is indeed thicker than water.
Language is power. It is a deadly knife.
When they speak Chinese, speak Chowking.
In the advertising world, everything is subjective. And it is harder if you deal with a subject.
The accountant computes your salary. Your boss measures your future in the company. Deal with it.
Living in one house together with your workmates is an articulation of Big Brother in reality.
Put your mobile phone on the table of a restaurant as you order and you won’t worry of someone stealing it.
If you’re a girl, be careful in wearing sexy or revealing clothes. The men have the power to undress you even with a plain sight. Drool much?
You can believe you are right. What is right in the eye of a Godly boss?
If you share a toilet with someone, time is crucial. 90% is spent on enjoyment. 10% is consumed for scrubbing the floors and soaping the sink.
Trust is an investment. You can’t go full without looking at the risks.
Making a headline to make sales without using your head is a deadline in havoc.
Lucky you if you have a spacious room. At least you can scream, laugh, cry or fart without bothering the rest.
You can shop til you drop. But never let your jaw drop when you get sick without even a coin in your purse.
The gym is a place to loose and gain the “F.” You loose FATS and you gain FRIENDS.
Pray you won’t get dental problems. Having tooth ache is more excruciating upon realizing how much you have to pay.
It’s the survival of the fittest overseas and its triple!
Increment is parallel to how you follow the unheard echoes in your workstation.
Allow yourself to be invincible for a day. It’s your portal to a peace of mind.
Going overseas is fulfillment of life’s terror and joy. It’s a heaven and hell on earth.
Don’t go abroad if you’re not physically, emotionally, and even financially ready. It’s insane to bank on plain guts just to fulfill one’s glory.
If it says exit and you enter, you’re stupid. If it says enter and you enter, you’re stupid (again.) If it says “Masuk” and you enter, it’s a good job. Understand the language of a foreign country and you’ll know why.
If you think the luck has turned its back on you because of the workforce injustices, just think of how many housemaids are beaten by their employers on the moment of your whining and you’ll be grateful of your fate.
If you crave for pork meat in an Islamic country, just listen to the sound of the spoon and fork coming from a nearby resto and you’ll get your cravings met on time.
Filipinos are everywhere. The Philippines is on every country. Brunei is an extension of the Filipinos, the same as other countries.
A waitress once said: “Alam kong Taga-maynila ang isang tao kapag tinatawag kaming Ate or Kuya.”
Constant communication with your family shrinks your sadness and expands your happiness.
Buttermilk Chicken is one of my favorite dish in Brunei. Butter and milk shower me with the taste of home.
There’s no much choice but to eat chicken. After a year, you won’t need a plane ticket to go back in the Philippines. You already have the wings to travel!
Living in Brunei made me see how life can be simplified. See the basic of the basics.
Be blessed if you know how to cook Filipino dish. It comes handy when you miss tasting our rich culture and traditions.
Forget about the grammar. The more you crookedly talk, the better.
Talk about piracy. The biggest mall runs in the front row.
Ice cream cakes packed with fresh fruits delight life’s celebrations overseas. Goldilocks was just not invited.
If you smell a bad odor, don’t doubt yourself as long as you take a bath.
Listen to the radio and you’ll be back in the 80s.
Some people wear big brand to show how monstrous they are. Sigh.
Western Union and LBC are an OFWs’ bestfriends.
Every dollar earned is equivalent to every tears of joy and sadness.
In an 8 to 5 job, 5 is infinite.
You will never regret being bitten by a bee especially if it’s Jollibee. It’s a bite from home.
Sex as a topic is a taboo. Gender as a performance of ones identity is fatal.
Suppression leads to underground activities which are initiated by the suppressed.
Party with the Filipinos and you’ll end up with a pabalot!
Your luggage defines your dreams and aspirations. An excess baggage is a part of it.
Learn the art of Pakikisama. It is essential for survival overseas.
There are people who will pull you down. Give them the ladder. That’s all they want to be on top.
There are days you like walking through the stairs or simply using the elevator. Whichever you like doing, just be on time. Late means salary deduction.
Some bosses think you are a product, a good machine or a robot. You will are dispensable any time.
Beware to charge your options.
Never forget a contract expires. Save, save and save.
Enrolling in a postgraduate study while working is a suicide. Ironically, it’s the kind of death which gives birth to a stronger and sharper you! Bring it on!
The airport is the saddest place on earth. It is where families and friends are separated. Plus, bags are thrown haphazardly.
In a blink of an eye, you are seated on a plane going home. In just a snap, you’re back in your workstation. That’s how vacation works.
It’s better to be thrifty in a foreign country than act like you are rich yet penniless when you decide to stay for good in the Philippines.
Take time to check on sale items. It’s fulfilling to save some dollars.
People won’t judge you by the way you look or talk. It’s all about your output.
Rules are strictly followed, so follow!
The moment you think of blowing your horn, stop. It’s a shame to do such things in a very peaceful country.
If you feel bored, try walking on the street. Perhaps a running squirrel can take away your blues.
Hari Raya is celebration for local. For us, it’s a celebration of freedom from work.
Chinese New Year is packed with fireworks and dragon dance. Ang Pao is the best part of it.
Better shop items in the Philippines. It’s cheaper but with good quality.
Work hard overseas, shop harder back in the Philippines.
If ever you fall in love with someone, make sure that someone doesn’t have a wife/husband with kids left in the Philippines.
Blogging keeps me sane. Is it?
Facebook connects me to the many faces of my past and present.
Bank on your talent. You’ll never know when you will be discovered.
Show your talent and be paid with extra!
Finish your contract before moving to another company. It’s better to tie loose ends than be burdened with an avalanche of deadly words.
Invest while you are young. Regrets happen in the end.
Believe in Karma. Works most of the time.
Read a book, browse a magazine or surf the Internet once in a while to imbibe wisdom. Treat yourself like a pencil made to be sharpened at its best.
Explore foods and cultures. Overseas life may not be forever. Seize the moment.
Find time to relax. Better take care of your health than you suffer in sickness without your family at your side.
Never forget to serve the Lord. We owe to him our positive fate.
If your parents trained you with toilet manners, be grateful. Oddly, there are people who are meant to let you realize your toilet manners are genuine. Flush it!
You may feel tired working abroad. Simply look at your bank account and you’ll get your mojos back!
Days before your vacation are just overwhelming. Expect sleepless nights.
The first 3 months of overseas life is the hardest. It’s the adjustment period.
Celebrate the good times. See opportunity on the bad times. Positivity rocks!