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ASEAN, Brunei Darussalam, Economy

Should we punish Runaway Bruneian Scholars? NO.



He started his career as a lawyer in South Africa. He was 24 years old and a foreigner in a non-native land. Reason for the migration was clear: His home country wan’t progressive enough. Result: He was ostracized. It wasn’t until 21 years later did he return back to his home country. In due course, using the skills he gained in South Africa, led and paved the way for his country’s independence in its darkest and most trying of times. His name: Mahatma Gandhi.


He was the Commander in the Imperial Russian Army when the Russian Empire fell and his province attained independence. This led to a civil war and later, the World War. An effect which could result to the extermination of the new state. Elected to become its Commander-in-Chief, he led, against all odds, a successful defense campaign that ultimately preserved his home county from Stalin’s Reds(one of which is the Winter War) and in the process become one of the greatest Finn of all time and the father of modern Finland. His name: Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerhiem.


His career never made any sense. Animal herding, trading goods was all was known of him during his days in the empty Arabian desert. It was not until he was 40 years old when he received a revelation that calls upon him to spread of a new religion. There he led the new movement. Upon recruiting new followers, he was soon met with hostility by the ruling tribal leaders. Escaping prosecution, he and his followers migrated to Medina. It wasn’t until 8 years later did he captured Mecca and ultimately spread Islam. His name: Muhammad S.A.W.


I understand the sentiment of how “disloyal” those bond breakers may be. But no one mentioned the flip side of the coin.

Those people, having work abroad for years or decades, have the capacity and the brains to help move the country forward. They can inject new ideas, new working ethics, and new innovations.

In the process, them helping build external private assets across the globe that we Bruneians could tap to reverse the impending disaster which we may face once the oil runs out.

So stop with this “think local, act local” mindset. It’s pathetic.

Was it not Sultan Bolkiah the 5th that once said to the Bruneians to continually explore and gain new knowledge across the region and beyond? Look at where we were then?

On the other hand, look at where we were in the past hundred years? Let us learn our lesson not to be guided by ignorance, envy, and hatred. In fact this is the environment where second handers and corrupt, sociopaths develop their career in(watch the first episode of House of Cards, then you’ll understand).

In order to develop Brunei successfully, it will need the meritocratic system based on reason. Mainly because it 1) eliminates the mentioned evils. 2) builds the foundation for which the runway scholars can serve on 3) and creates a sustainable and dynamic economy.

No, I am not in favor of students leaving behind with unpaid debts. Read the continuation article for more details here.

This piece counters the ignorant comment on Brunei Time’s article entitled “Government should deal with runway scholars lawfully” under the account user ‘what ails brunei’.

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About Abdul Malik Omar

Aspiring writer, economist, and entrepreneur. He is the founder of AMO Times. Currently he studies BSc International Enterprise and Business Development at the University of Essex. linkd.in/1eYjX0H

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  1. Pingback: Time for Scholarship Policy Changes | The AMO Times - February 28, 2014

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