Sunday, February 27, 2011


Last year, I joined the Brunei Times Essay Competition. The theme was about "Brunei Darussalam and the Challenges of Globalisation." As  graduate student of UP Open University, I braved myself and wrote my piece.

Apparently, I didn't win the highest place. However, if there's anything that I'm proud of my decision in joining, that is writing a masterpiece about globalisation, aside from bringing home some interesting prizes like a mug, a car shade, an eco bag, and a coffee table book which is loaded with pictures about Brunei. Today, I am sharing you some of the pages of the memorabilia. 

The Pages of the Coffee Table Book.

Plus, I am sharing with you my composition. Read on.

The Big Leap: Brunei Darussalam in the midst of Globalisation
By Earvin Charles B. Cabalquinto
In the Human Development Report published by the United Nations Development Programme in 2009, Brunei ranked 30th out of the 178 countries. Between 1980 and 2007, the Sultanate’s Human Development Index (HDI) rose by 0.39 per cent annually from 0.827 to 0.920. Furthermore, Brunei has also the highest Gross Domestic Product per capita at USD50,200. Given the history of Brunei’s competitive and impressive performance, is the country equipped and prepared for the onset of globalisation’s challenges?

Globalisation is at our times, an era of prosperity and innovation. With the expansion of international trade, massive financial flows and the boom of communication technology, there is a trend of cross-border movement of people, money, ideas, and technology. This leads to the interdependence of nations, the creation of a global village. However, individual countries across the globe are influenced and changed by globalisation at different levels.

Being the 4th largest oil producer in ASEAN and the 9th largest exporter of LNG in the world, Brunei has a wealth of oil and gas resources that boost its economy and positions it as a major player in the global market. However, with intense competition worldwide brought about by globalisation, rich natural resources are not the sole key factor in creating a responsive economy, but human capital as well. Education and Basic Health care aligned with a secure environment in the micro and macro level are vital criteria.

Globalisation has a new character, a shift in the structure and system of how nations interplay. It creates new markets of globally linked businesses, new policies or rules, and new tools of communication. Positively, Brunei addresses the impacts of globalisation with a strong vision and strategic plans that make opportunities squarely accessible to its people and to foreigners as well. This is articulated in Brunei Economic Development Board’s (BEDB) Vision 2035.

The deepening of integrated global market is one of globalisation’s resounding impacts. All nations are challenged with the heightened demands of international markets through diversification. Brunei Darussalam prioritizes industrial, infrastructure and urban development to suffice the fast-changing economic landscape and be an investment destination. Moreover, policies and programs that cultivate and protect local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) shall be taken in the host of sustainable business initiatives. The Opportunity Centre and Buy Brunei portal are idyllic business strategies that may keep the country recognized among its neighboring countries.

Halal products in the flow of international goods are at stake in the advent of globalisation. There is an influx of big brands that may give opportunities to participating nations, or possible threats to small businesses or religious practices. In Brunei, Halal and non-Halal classifications should be intensified through processing, certification and manufacturing as invested by Brunei Government. Such commitment may set Brunei as an epitome of a Malay Islamic Monarchy that prides on the standards of Halal products.

Moving in a borderless world, globalisation utilizes connectivity through technology in communication. Knowledge on information is an essential foundation of future citizens. To ensure this, Brunei may further develop and fund its ICT initiatives such as the iCentre, the first Info-Communication Technology incubator in Brunei, and the Knowledge Hub, a Research and Development centre. This may create more opportunities to foster a nation of competitive ICT literate individuals. In the process, to protect inventions and products, Intellectual property rights shall be reviewed and be planted with stricter policies.

A changing climate and environmental degradation brought about by globalisation’s industrial impacts may affect Brunei. However, through alliance building among private and business partners, well-thought and well-funded programmes that aim to develop a sustainable and healthy environment may bring Brunei at the forefront of secure and sustainable habitat. An exploration of alternative energies designed in dynamic environmental programmes as initiated in the Sultanate propels abundance and stability in the long-term.

A fluid tourism is bolstered by globalisation. Nations are challenged to integrate preserved cultural richness in an international and modern flavour. As a participant in the global tourism landscape, Brunei may harness its ecotourism groundwork to increase awareness on a stretch of environmental degradation issues from a local to global platforms. Relatively, in support of an active tourism, a flexible aviation by Royal Brunei Airlines may route foreigners in the Sultanate toward enjoying a comfortable and luscious travel experience.

Globalisation is here to stay and progresses in time. However, despite the challenges, strategic plans, transparent policies and consistent actions may address the phenomenon in a controllable and progressive phase. Appropriate economic and social policies are needed to manage and equally distribute global opportunities to local scene as well. Nevertheless, a tough alliance between stakeholders ranging from the government up to the citizens is the key toward achieving survival and sustainability in this complex and multifaceted era of globalisation.

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