To be questioned for the first time on one's race while when entering a country is quite a disturbing experience. While I was holding the immigration card in my hand, I found myself in a rather bizarre situation. How to define a race when one's two parents are not of the same race, or when a person is trying to free himself from categorizations that divide rather that unite.
However, this practice is common and accepted in Southeast Asia, and even religious preference is stated on the identity card. It is the legacy of the Anglo-Saxon occupation I was told, something I can easily imagine.
After my astonishment, being in the company of other travelers, I chose to laugh. My answer was the race of the baddies in the cartoon "Transformers": Decepticon!
The customs officer having never seen this 'race' before did not dare to ask me any questions.
Did you know...
- Around 16th century Brunei’s religious faith was completely changed to Islam. Around that time one of the biggest mosques of Brunei was built, and in 1578, a Spanish traveler, Alonso Beltrán, described the mosque being five stories high and built on the water.
- The Sultanate of Brunei was most powerful between 15th and 17th centuries, which extended from northern Borneo to southern Philippines.
- From 1888 to 1984, Brunei remained a British protectorate.
- All the Brunei citizens are entitled to have free public health.