Christmas Day in Brunei
I was driving along the Jerudong area close to midnight last night when I saw a police block. Not that I panic, just a bit bewildered that they held a blockage at that time and on the eve when the Brunei Government servants received their 13th-month pay. I thought the blockade must have got to do with the pay day but why on earth is it at that hour? As I came nearer to the police personnel, I noticed that a number of vehicles were being pulled over. Passengers and drivers stood by their vehicles. I wondered what they did wrong. I haven’t done anything wrong (by law i.e.) so yes, they let me go. I thought that at least they would ask for my driving license but they didn’t. That’s odd, I said to myself. I was a bit slow to think. After awhile I realized that it was Christmas Eve so they must be checking for booze perhaps?
Ah! Its Christmas Day today. Yes Brunei is a Muslim country but Christmas is being celebrated throughout the country. It is also one of the public holidays in Brunei. Fine restaurants and cafes alike offer Christmas dinner or lunch. House visits, exchange of presents, those stuff. I also received a gift from my colleague, she’s so sweet. In exchange I sent her a New Year Card. I learnt that Muslims should not say ‘Merry Christmas’.
An email sent to me tells a story about a former priest who converted to Islam. This convert said that it is haram or forbidden for a Muslim to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or anything related to Christmas as the meaning is actually Blessing to Jesus the God. Wallahu’alam. Anyone can clarify on this please?
Now read this ‘dit’ of a Royal Navy sailors’ account on their Christmas celebration in Brunei back in 1962. A dit is the Royal Navy expression for a tale, story or anecdote.
I would like to wish my friends and colleagues and their families celebrating Christmas a happy holiday and many happy returns and a Happy New Year!