Useful Notes / Brunei
Brunei, officially known as the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace (Malay: Negara Brunei Darussalam; Jawi: نڬارا بروني دارالسلام), is a monarchy in Southeast Asia, bordered at all sides by Malaysia. It has the highest per capita income of all ASEAN countries. The population is about 400,000, with Malay's forming a majority and Chinese forming a minority. Malay, both written in Latin and Arabic scripts, and English are official languages.

The Sultanate once ruled over most of Borneo (the island's name of Borneo may have come from Brunei) during the 14th to 16th century, and for a while, also held Southern Philippines. The coming of the Europeans (Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch) ended its regional hegemony, although the Sultanate survived. A war was fought between Brunei and the Spanish forces in 1578 known as the Castille War. There is also a brief civil war in Brunei from 1660 to 1673, due to a disagreement between the Crown Prince and one noble over a cockfight. It also lost territory to the White Rajahs of Sarawak, had to also surrender to Britain Sabah (a fact disputed by the Philippine government as it claimed that Brunei leased Sabah to Sulu, now a part of the Philippines) and had to accept British protection in 1884, a status ending a century later.

Brunei was occupied by Japan during World War II and like other Southeast Asian countries, suffered under Japanese rule. It was liberated in 1945 and put back under British rule. During the '60s upheavals in the Malay archipelago (Indonesia and Malaysia were fighting in what can be best described as a Sibling War), Brunei, which was at the time a part of British Malaya, experienced a rebellion in the country's jungle, abetted allegedly by Indonesia. Believing that the Brunei Revolt caused a lot of trouble for his rule, the Sultan at the time decided to opt out of joining the newly-independent Malaysia, and also partly motivated by the desire that the oil revenues should be the sultan's and his country's, not Malaysia's.

It is described as an oil sheikhdom which is not Arab. It had an ample amount of natural gas reserves which the government funded to its health and education services. The Bruneian economy is very strong due to said massive oil reserves, and they make currency matters simple by pegging it 1:1 to the Singaporean dollar. While technology is indeed advanced, it distinguishes itself from the utopia-like Persian Gulf countries by keeping it low in terms of high-rise buildings or other mind-blowing projects like constructing a world-shaped island or the tallest building the world.

The country's government is headed by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, for a while the richest person in the world. His ranking decreased, but he still had considerable wealth. Despite his liability for autocracy, the king (and the monarchy in general) is well-liked by the people, because the king willingly distributes the country's ridiculously-high oil wealth to the people fairly.

Also, the government is an absolute Islamic monarchy, and thus frequently received criticisms for its undemocratic principles. It shares the same Malay culture as neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia, but is more conservative; sharia (Islamic laws) is enforced liberally in both public and private matters (unless you're non-Muslim), whereas Malaysia only takes them in private matters, while Indonesia goes even further and allows you to take secular laws if you want. A common joke among business travelers there is that there is only one hotel in the entire country that serves alcohol. Due to this, sometimes Malaysian culture mocked the Bruneians in their media, with the Indonesians occasionally doing the same. The Bruneians in turn mock the Malaysians and Indonesians for their lack of supposed piety and being supposedly poorer than them. It has to be noted that citizenship isn't automatically granted to people born in Brunei, it depends on the parent's citizenship.

Media in Brunei is state-controlled to maintain the traditional Islamic principles. In spite of this, most of them still have to be imported from outside; one thing that might confound foreigners is the fact that the country has produced exactly two domestic films since independence, one of which was released back in the 1960s. Yes, it's that small.

Keep modesty as a way of life, please. No short skirts or skin-tights or midriff-baring or the like, especially for women. That doesn't mean you need to cover everything, though; Malayan Muslims aren't that strict. Smoking, alcohol and sexualized contents are prohibited though.

There is a Brunei sultan's tomb, Tomb of the King of Boni, located at Nanjing, China. It is also the birthplace of Wu Chun.

Brunei in fiction:

  • According to the opening news report scenes of the intro video of Homefront, Brunei is part of the Greater Korean Republic. It is unknown if the country was annexed by force or willingly joined the Reunified Korean nation.
  • In 1983: Doomsday, the country became independent earlier following the UK's collapse during the nuclear war. The country took advantage of the instability across Malaysia and quickly invaded the rest of Borneo for themselves. Years later, Brunei encounter Philippine forces in Sabah which it called an "violation of sovereignty." Both countries then signed a treaty that Sabah would be an autonomous Philippine territory, though dispute continues to this day.
  • The protagonists of Jin Yong's Sword Stained with Royal Blood ended up retiring in one of the nearby island.

The Bruneian Flag
The yellow field stands for the Sultan (yellow is also a royal color across Southeast Asia), while the white and black diagonal stripes symbolize the chief ministers of Brunei. At the center is the all-red national emblem, consisting of the crescent of Islam (with a motto which reads "Negara Brunei Darussalam [State of Brunei, Abode of Peace]" in Arabic), the parasol of the monarchy, and a pair of upturned hands signifying the government's benevolence; below is a ribbon which reads "Always in service with God's guidance", also in Arabic.