Overseas and beyond

Just returned from a trip to Brunei and am feeling all mellow within. The joy that I experienced was unparalleled. It opened my eyes wide to the world outside.

To be honest, I was like the frog in the well, knowing nothing but the confines of the bricks and yet, arrogantly believing that I was the center of the world. It was good to be reminded of the foolishness of my own self-absorption once in a while.

Brunei is a prosperous country with tech-savvy residents, well-developed infrastructure and it reminds me of Singapore (without the traffic congestions, concrete jungle and supercilious folks).

Met up with 16 kids and 2 teachers and all of them are Malay Muslims. I got a shock and immediately regretted my choice.

I didn't know what I was signing up for when I hesitantly agreed to be an impromptu tour guide. It just seemed too good an opportunity to miss : a $1, 127 trip for free, a 6 day-stay in a 4-star hotel, daily allowance of $30/day, food and lodging provided. All I had to do was to lead some children around. It ought to be easy, shouldn't it?

And it turned out not only to be easy but great fun. The kids were really spirited and bounced around with such energy that I felt incredibly old and frumpy in comparison. I felt so frail and I'm only twenty! And the teachers were really cool people too.

Had a room in the hotel all to myself. It was really quite luxurious, this feeling of lazing about in the air-conditioned room with nary a thought about the future.