Project Lockdown #2: Brunei

Edited by: Chua Jia Ying

March 16th 2020, Brunei closes its borders, banning overseas travels and preventing its citizens from leaving the country. The announcement was made in an effort to curb the COVID-19 spread within the country.

In this article, take a look at what life is like in Brunei since the closure.

IVAN_LOCKDOWN_006Photo by: Ivan Liew

“Just like that the sun returns to the horizon and takes the stillness of the world in its hand as it sets. It’s daunting to experience the tranquillity of the vast sea and the empty roads. With hardly any car in sight, or people at the shore, various thoughts invade our minds with the constant fear of how the world has been in lockdown for over a month now.  Brunei has become quiet, too quiet to accept it. COVID-19 has become a massive disruptor dictating the shutdown of countries globally. The impact of the pandemic has reached beyond those who are directly affected by it. Massive economies and businesses have both seen an unfavourable turn of events predicting an inevitable downturn which may become just one of the long-term effects of the virus. It is undeniable that our lives have tragically changed since the past couple weeks, however as humans we possess the ability to dominate our thoughts. Now is the time to focus on the silver lining; the peaceful roads, clear skies and the stillness of everything and the earth finally is breathing. Tough times should make us ponder about the uncertainty of life and how minute we are. Amid all the chaos, it leaves us in awe to realise how things may be a blessing in disguise.” – Mehar


IVAN_LOCKDOWN_004Photo by: Ivan Liew

Ever since the Restricted Movement Order in Malaysia -that has since been extended- other countries have soon followed, some have even taken a step further and gone into lockdown such as Brunei. The once iconic streets that promise a smooth drive throughout your journey are now deserted, leaving the lovely neighbourhood once full of life and vigor now looks like a ghost town. On the bright side, eco-fascists would be thrilled to celebrate Mother Nature healing our planet Earth from all the damage we have inflicted on it over the years. The sky has never been so clear and neither the sea so blue. Indeed it is a beautiful sight to see and heartwarming to know that the Earth is recovering. However, the truth remains, once this is all over, the virus has been contained and a vaccine has been found, will we revert back to our bad habits or will we be conscientious enough to care for the environment better? Know your facts, the innocent are paying the cost for others’ greed. “How dare you” indeed.” – Xenia Lee


IVAN_LOCKDOWN_003Photo by: Ivan Liew

Life goes on, tentatively, as the sun sets over the South China Sea. With no difference as the rest of the world does, their daily routines start with a bit more caution, with a touch more thinking and for some, perhaps a sprinkle of discomfort and a sliver of distress. Underlying each thought, in layers, are the aftershocks of the aftershocks of the pandemic that has ground the world to a stop in screeching halts, in some places more than the others. To Kuala Belait, where a short distance to the west lies Brunei’s completely closed borders, there is only that small change in attitude and outlook. Anyone can go out and relish the sunset on that beach vista, unknowing of the many who can not do the same.– Wei Shang

Full photo collection by our editor and photographer, Ivan, is now up on Instagram (@musamonga)!

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