It is the time of the year where new student intakes would be arriving in UK. For all it is the beginning of a lesson to live on one’s own. For they no longer will live under their parents house, but have to survive for themselves here in United Kingdom. Many are eager, many are scared, but for all it is a new experience to study in a foreign landscape. Thus let me write about a special place, unfamiliar to most but would be surely visited by the new Scholar: Brunei Hall.
Brunei Hall is simply magnificent. It’s heritage, history and feel would dwarf even the most beautiful landmarks in London. For it is the very heart of modern Brunei. This considering over decades of knowledge exportation, allowing the improvement of specialized knowledge to build the infrastructures, buildings and governmental systems we have today. Located near Paddington station in UK’s capital city of London, it is an important Brunei owned landmark since its acquisition over 4 decades ago.
The state-owned unit has the important duty to collectively protect, serve, and help local scholar students in UK and Ireland. It is an integral part of developing the next generation. Without Brunei Hall we would not simply be adequately supported. But under providence grace we have. Past scholars who for some are now sitting in ministerial posts were all catered, protected, and fed for in Brunei Hall. This included my father, Haji Omar who-now a businessman-by his prime career was elected as Special Duty Officer in Ministry of Finance. He is tough and honest as hell. Both in Government and in Business.
What was faced by earlier scholars’ generation would sure be quite different now. Yet the anxiety of studying into a new country is almost parallel. It is in this vulnerable circumstance they need consultation and advise, a central point to re-balance everything out after the 16 hour long flight from Brunei Darussalam into unknown territory. Brunei Hall would do just that.
In Brunei Hall, I got the privilege to have met a lot of colourful personalities. The first one was Cikgu Khalid, a very stern and disciplined individual, who transported me to Brunei Hall. He is the type of person management needs to maintain order around the place. I still remember him giving dire warning to my acquaintance and I to not forsake the scholarship process, as a few recently did. He shamed those people, and rightfully they should be by many of our countrymen. For it is governments’ money wasted. This warning re-kindled my concentration to study.
Next was Pengiran Haji Wahab, the warden, who greeted me when I first arrived in Brunei Hall. His trademark was his black coat that gave him an aura of respectability; which until now I still have that impression on him. His duty involves in keeping the residence well tended. Only a few months ago I interviewed him about his top lessons as a warden. From which he replied a growing knowledge of dealing with the UK authorities, a gradual improvement in management ability, and keeping things abreast for the residence.
Along the lines of being so dire and eager to live out one’ won, what eventually would pull the breaks for most students is living the lone life in a foreign land. Unaccustomed to this, here is where Cikgu Kamaliah, Welfare Officer, comes into the fore. Her consultation would certainly played a great impact-at least for me it did-in students’ journey here, from where she will give nuggets of diamond advise in dealing with the wide array of circumstances here. Issues such as clothing, accommodation, renting, allowance and many more.
Then there was the Director of Studies, Cikgu Ali Hamdani. Newly appointed as the head of Brunei Hall, he gave me time to talk about the students’ life. He mentioned to me how students should all focus in their studies, and make well with the patronage that His Majesty has given to us via the Scholarship. Costing millions of pounds per year, this trust should translate in giving the state returns in many shape, sizes or forms, economical or developmental. When asked about management advice he told in an interview how one should give trust to a person in certain departments and responsibility to do his and her work.
What made Brunei Hall more homely is its receptionists and cooks. Their support, friendliness and encouragement provides students with adequate care in the seemingly ever secular world of London. Apart from that, let’s not forget to extol the excellent food they serve. Costing only £2.1 per lunch and dinner, they nourish the stomach and the soul for the locals. Students would knowingly realize how much they miss their homes as they savour the taste of Chicken Curry, Nasi Lemak, Mee Goreng etc.
From the outset of this article piece, it is from my deepest hope to inform readers how important Brunei Hall is. Local students and professionals alike would be very welcomed to submit their piece to this website if they are interested to help educate the world of some certain things connected to the abode of peace, Brunei Darussalam. It is in my deepest desire to project locals voice to the world out there. Thus in this website I can do just that. Thank you for reading.