Ain Bandial Profile picture
Mar 30, 2018 15 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
For the record @Diplomat_APAC , Tiffany Teo is Singaporean not Bruneian. Although she was born in Brunei and lived here briefly as an expat, she identifies as Singaporean, and competes for Singapore, as is stated in @MarcusChhan’s stories for @thescoop_co
And idk where to begin w/ this shallow, misinformed interpretation of the state of women in Brunei. Maybe next time, idk, try talking to some actual Bruneian women. I guess we’re too busy being repressed to speak for ourselves, need other people to speak on our behalf. NO THANKS.
Bruneian women have been telling their stories for a long time, but if those stories aren’t published in western media, they don’t exist right?
ACTUAL #Brunei women that should be on any “Asean Women to Watch” list:

- Sharifah Czarena, 1st female captain for any SE Asian airline
- Intan Kassim, head of the Council on Social Welfare, a NGO that set up a free legal clinic and and provides micro financing to women

- Siti Kamaluddin, director of Brunei’s first feature film, Yasmine
- Khairunnisa Ashari, Brunei’s youngest parliamentarian at 29

- Worth noting that Brunei’s 2 biggest universities are run by female vice-chancellors.
- 80% of AG Chambers is staffed by female lawyers
These are just a few of the incredibly strong female figures I have interviewed in my 8 years reporting #Brunei news. It’s just the tip of the iceberg, feel free to add on to the list
Has Brunei reached parity in terms of equal representation? No. Do we need more female leadership in civil service & the boardroom? Yes. But it’s rarely acknowledged that Brunei’s policies of free universal healthcare & education have gone a long way to level the playing field.
Those exact policies that political pundits think are a “costly social experiment” have given rise to one of highest human development indexes on the world — a level of human welfare that many developed countries are still trying to achieve
Brunei’s gender equality issues are not unique to Brunei, they are faced by women in both the western and Muslim worlds. It is not exclusive to an Orientalist narrative of a ‘repressive Muslim state’ whose women folk need rescuing by a white savior
Just wanted to point out some misleading info in the story:

1) FGM is not prevalent, although some Muslim parents (not all) carry out a ritual where a minor prick is made to the clitoral hood of a newborn girl. It is not the same as what is practiced in some parts of Africa.
The debate over whether “female circumcision” is a religious or cultural practice has been raging for years. Some countries/communities view it as an mandatory religious practice, while others do not. The UN sees it as a violation of human rights.
2) Sadly, child marriage is permissible under law, although in reality the no of >18 marriages in Brunei is low. The UN has been lobbying for Brunei, Malaysia to increase the minimum age of marriage
3) The claim that sultanate doesn’t want to promote stories of smart, capable female leaders? These kinds of stories are in the local media all the time! If you care to look
My frustration with stories like this, and most int’l reporting abt Brunei, is it lacks nuance and sufficient knowledge/understanding of Brunei society. Reporters need to do better. Talk to actual Bruneians. Don’t paint us with a single, narrow brushstroke
Our experiences as Bruneian women are not identical, they are diverse. So framing this narrative with the same tired trope of ‘Muslim women = oppressed and voiceless’ is incorrect and does a huge disservice to the very women who shatter those stereotypes everyday.

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More from @ainbandial

Jan 15, 2018
I feel like there is a clear distinction btwn the kind of work achieved by meticulous, scrupulous journalists that exposed Weinstein et al, which has quickly devolved into McCarthy-like “gotcha” journalism, fed by the click-bait worthiness of exposing male celebs.
The way it tries to frame the incident - by hyping up details like her inability to choose red or white wine as indicative of something sinister - is dangerous and shoddy
It goes some way to trvilaising what is a disturbing and upsetting sexual encounter for the woman by failing to examine the often toxic culture surrounding sex & dating, and makes it about an Ansari takedown.
Read 6 tweets
Feb 24, 2017
Youth dialogue with #Brunei LegCo youth rep Khairunissa Ashari @kyeeee
Some recs from youth during dialogue with #LegCo rep @kyeeee: 1) Remove need for event permits from MOHA
2) Require MPKs (village councils) to have a youth member on their committee, to enhance youth involvement & interest in local govt
Read 8 tweets

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