Thursday, October 17, 2013

Over thinking Brunei

The title says it all, I over thought Brunei and I will get to that in a minute but first - I am in Brunei.  Where is Brunei you ask?  Well Brunei is on the island of Borneo (bet you thought Borneo was a country - but it's not).  Borneo is an island made up of 3 countries - Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.  Brunei is also ruled by a Sultan and is a very Muslim country, which lead me to over thinking it.  As you know, I have been travelling a fair bit lately to SE Asia and in particular, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which is also a Muslim country.  One think to keep in mind when thinking about Malaysia, it isn't Middle East, wear a burka type of Muslim, but rather wear a pretty floral dress to the floor along with a matching head scarf type of Muslim, so when I am in KL, I tend to dress normally and by normal, I mean normal.  I don't let it all hang out nor do I stay all covered up - I am somewhere in the middle in the range of what I would consider appropriate and I have never had issues with how I have dressed, nor have I ever felt uncomfortable.  Hell, down at the KLCC (big shopping mall in KL), I have seen girls with it all hanging out next to women clad head to toe, face covered, only eyes showing burkas.

When I found out I was coming to Brunei (this particular trip has been cancelled and rescheduled 3 times) I did a little research and asking around the office of what is appropriate to wear and this is where my over thinking came in.  I fretted last week about what to bring b/c Brunei is a tropical country, much like Malaysia and when I am in Malaysia I often wear a cardigan, tank top and a skirt to work with a nice little wedge sandal - something generally nice a cool.  But I couldn't wear that in Brunei!  I mean it is a very Muslim country.  My knees need to be covered, as do my shoulders and surely cleavage is a no-no. (unless I want to be in Prince Jeffrey's harem but that is another story!)  Or so I thought. . . until I got to the gate at the airport in Kuala Lumpur and I saw local girls sitting there in their short skirts and bare arms.

Really, at the end the day, I think that dressing in foreign countries comes down to a few common sense things (which I didn't really use :-( )

  1. Think, "would I wear this out to dinner with my parents, boss, in-laws, etc" or "could I wear this to the office and feel comfortable".  If so, it is probably safe
  2. Don't wear anything with slogans or logos that may offend people.  Personally, not the biggest fan of being a walking advertisement
  3. Don't always trust what you read on the internet - talk to locals about what is appropriate
  4. Lastly, don't over think it!

And when it comes to the beach in places like this, you will see everything - including the lovely skirted, 2 piece burkini!

1 comment:

JB said...

Over thinking things is what makes you good at what you do though!