Outpost Brunei by nhs90963


									     Outpost News

     First stop:
                                                      Outpost Brunei
     Entering the new millennium meant many changes for
     Outpost Brunei. Under the leadership of Hajah Zainab Binte
     Ali the team re-evaluated business guidelines and the scope
     and effectiveness of the services offered. A questionnaire
     was sent to expat ladies in the Panaga camp at the end of
     2001. As a result, we improved our services and moved from
     the BSP Guesthouse to a house with a large office, kitchen
     and spacious social areas. We not only provide information
     on arrival and about future postings, but also a ‘meet and
     greet’ service, run by 10 ladies from a variety of countries.     Break during musical performance by Puan Belai People (photo: Hans Dols)
14   Following this welcome on the day of arrival, every second
     month a newcomers’ coffee morning is held at Outpost
     Brunei. The social section of Outpost Brunei also includes        The Outpost Brunei team consists of: Heather Carne (British)
     cookery and arts sections, and welcomes visiting speakers.        who is, apart from her various and challenging tasks as
                                                                       MD spouse, our chairlady, and Elisabeth Kirchner (German)
     Opening times are Monday to Thursday 9.30–11am, and from          who is the focal point. Anna Elder (Dutch) looks after the
     9am to 9.30am we offer newcomers an interview. On Fridays         money and Renata Kang (Malaysian) is our computer expert
     we hold our monthly meetings and occasional training              and secretary. The social section under the coordination
     sessions on matters such as Sitescape, distance learning,         of Tina Bell (British) is split into a cookery section run by
     etc. The office has information and advice on distance            Elisabeth Holyoak (Norwegian) and an arts section run by
     learning, Spouse Employment and CV updating, plus access          Mandy Doughty (British). Hazel Harvey (British) coordinates
     to information packs on other operating companies. You            the ‘meet and greet’ service. Nagashree Ramakumar (Indian)
     can browse through the growing collection of travel guides        coordinates the distance learning section and Sue Kent
     for the region. We also have internet access and a laundry –      (British) is in charge of Spouse Employment and CV updating.
     both much used by expats after arrival and before departure.      Febrina Sarginson (Indonesian) is our PR lady. Alison May
     The latest addition is the newsletter, published three times      (British), Allison Bulseco (Australian) and Eunice Phang
     a year. This year we are updating our information on Brunei       (Malaysian) support the office team.
     with a CD, and we plan to further strengthen our links with
     the other Outposts in Borneo by attending regional meetings
     in Bintulu and Miri.                                                      Elisabeth Kirchner and Alison May
     The highlight of Outpost Brunei’s calendar this year is the 5th
     Global Outpost Conference, to be held in Brunei Darussalam
     6-9 May 2004 at the superb Empire Hotel overlooking the
     South China Sea. The theme is ‘Connecting Communities’,
     and the 100-plus delegates from Outpost locations all over
     the world will take part in a 3-day programme of talks and                        Outp               st
     workshops. Of course, there will be time out to sample the
     beauty of Brunei and the culture and hospitality of the local       The Outpost Network provides world-wide comprehensive
     and expatriate communities. As well as keeping our 5-strong         and personal briefing services of non-contractual
     conference-organising team busy, the conference is, of              information in preparation for a new posting.
     course, a great opportunity for Outpost representatives to
     meet and work together. We are delighted that the invitation        Carel van Bylandtlaan 16
     of the previous BSP MD, Chris Finlayson, and his wife, to           PO Box 162
     host this Conference in Brunei Darussalam, was accepted.            2501 AN The Hague
     This will be the first time the Network has met outside the         The Netherlands
     Netherlands, and we hope this trend will continue. Our              Tel.: +31 (0)70 377 6530
     thanks go also to Mark and Heather Carne for taking the             Fax: +31 (0)70 377 1487
     reins to ensure that the Conference will be a success.              Outpost@shell.com

           Are you SmartWired?
           Dawna Markova is a remarkable woman. As a teacher and learning
           specialist she is convinced that every child can learn, but not always
           in the same way, so standardised teaching methods work only for the
           few. She emphasises the role of parents – the child’s primary educators.
           Through co-operation between parents, teachers and other people in the
           child’s life she believes every child can gain the condence to mature.
           Recently Dawna launched SmartWired, a non prot-making organisation
           embodying her beliefs, which has inspired Shell and Outpost.

Karine Quillien investigated how SmartWired will ground and      KQ: How will SmartWired enhance the learning experience of
connect expatriate children to the experiences of their global   children?
                                                                  DM: For the past 300 years, schools and parents have been         15
KQ: What is the philosophy behind SmartWired?                     educating from the outside in. We decide what children
                                                                  should learn, how they should learn it, how long it should
 DM: That you can give children the best by bringing out the      take and how to evaluate what has been learned. We dismiss
 best in them. We have four principles:                           rather than nurture children’s awareness of what works best
• differences are not disorders;                                  for them and is most important to them. We rarely think
• assets, not deficits, should be tracked;                        about how to foster the art of learning from the source
• mistakes are not failures;                                     - inside the child. Our children never develop the capacity
• learning happens from the inside out as well as the             to discern what is right for them. They become adults who
   outside in.                                                    don’t trust their own judgment, and need someone outside
                                                                  to determine the direction their life should take. Parents
SmartWired is dedicated to tracking the talents of our            begin by helping their child when he or she takes those first
children. We create a database of each child’s successes,         faltering steps toward their outstretched arms. They wonder
modes of attention, interests, resources and ways of              when their child will walk, not if; they encourage their child
thinking. Through interviews and activities with the child,       to risk that reach. Initially, we understand that learning
siblings, coaches and others who know what works best             involves repeated and different fallings. When do we forget
with this child, we provide a record of ‘transportable gifts’     this and assume that ‘falling’ is failing? Children should not
to children and their parents. With each move, the family         fail. If they do, it is we who have failed them. As parents,
takes a record of how to teach and motivate their child most      we are the one consistent force in their education. We can
effectively, and how to build on what has already worked,         engage their natural intelligence by helping to shift the focus
instead of starting again.                                        from what is wrong to what is possible.

KQ: SmartWired is a unique tool. How will you encourage          KQ: The Shell schools play a key role in our children’s
parents to make the most of it?                                  education. How does SmartWired complement the new
                                                                 approach of the International Primary Curriculum?
DM: Imagine a world in which every child understands what
his or her natural talents are and how he or she learns,         DM: The Shell schools are committed to something simple
thinks, and communicates effectively. If parents can imagine     yet quite remarkable - ensuring that everyone involved with
this, they can create a world worthy of their children. We       a child is aware of how that child learns, needs to be taught
are dedicated to helping them. Each SmartWired family            and needs to be assessed. SmartWired complements the IPC
will receive a parents’ guide to using the SmartReport, a        by developing strategies of learning that use and develop
children’s magazine and a teacher’s guide to bringing out the    children’s gifts and talents.
best in their child. The website has chat rooms for children,
parents and teachers. We give parents a guide to holding         KQ: What is your vision for SmartWired in the future?
SmartGroups with other parents to share ideas on helping
their children use their talents in difficult situations.        DM: That’s quite simple. I imagine every child in the world
                                                                 knowing what their unique gifts and talents are so they can
                                                                 contribute them to the rest of us.
                                                                      “If you want something to really work and you
                                                                            decide to make a new home and become
                                                                               part of a community, you can’t have
                                                                                 one foot here and the other on
                                                                                     another continent. We live here and
                                                                                       pay taxes, therefore we want the
                                                                                         opportunity to have a say in
                                                                                           the future of Australia”

     Mike and Christine Smith walked up the steps of Geelong             He worked at Shell’s
     Town Hall with their children Andrea and Timothy, in                head office in Cape
     anticipation of the ceremony for their Australian Citizenship.      Town, and later in the
     Around them were applicants from China, the Philippines,            refinery in Durban.
     Vietnam and other countries, whose faces showed equal               He met Christine,
     excitement. The mayor and councillors of Geelong greeted            and they enjoyed
     the South African family. In her speech, the mayor invited          their first expatriate
     the new citizens to retain their individuality and bring with       posting to Boston.
     them the uniqueness of their original country. The pledge          “In Boston we
     that followed confirmed the desire of the applicants to be          realised that there
     part of a country they had adopted as their own. This was           was a different world
16   sealed with a Certificate of Citizenship.                           outside South Africa, and how small-minded the people in
                                                                         our home town were,” says Christine.
     That was a year ago. Today, as I planned my own application,
     I visited Christine to talk about her thoughts on Australian       Street violence and crime were becoming more prevalent,
     citizenship. The Smiths live in a typical Australian home:         and Christine and the kids had a frightening experience
     freestanding, brick veneer, single storey with a large yard.       when they witnessed a bank robbery. “We started thinking
     I noticed a South African wildlife theme featured in every         seriously about emigration when we attended a seminar
     room: even the chessboard had tiger, elephant and zebra            in 1997,” continues Christine. “Representatives of Australia
     pieces. Their home confirmed the mayor’s request to retain         talked about living there, the financial aspects, housing,
     one’s individuality and heritage.                                  schooling and the medical system.” Mike resigned from
                                                                        Shell South Africa, awaiting a job with Shell Australia in
     We have to look at the Smiths’ past to find out why they           Geelong. “Our families were quite upset about us leaving,
     moved to Australia. Mike was born in Zimbabwe. When                but they understood that we wanted to give our children a
     President Mugabe took over leadership many people left,            life without crime or fear,” says Christine.
     including Mike’s teachers. To continue his education, Mike
     taught himself chemistry and physics, but courses were             The Smith family share a desire with thousands of other
     limited in Zimbabwe, so he moved to South Africa to study.         immigrants for a prosperous future in Australia. Its social
                                                                        security system, quality of life and open spaces, even in
                                                                        the big cities, attract many people. Permanent residents
                                                                        are encouraged to become Australian citizens. Australian
                                                                        Citizenship Day on 17 September emphasises citizenship as
                                                                        the most important unifying force in the community.
                                                                        The campaign has worked, with over 86,000 people from
                                                                        150 countries taking out citizenship in 2001–02, including the
                                                                        Smith family.

                                                                        “If you want something to really work and you decide to make
                                                                         a new home and become part of a community, you can’t
                                                                         have one foot here and the other on another continent. We
                                                                         live here and pay taxes, therefore we want the opportunity
                                                                         to have a say in the future of Australia,” says Christine.

                                                                        The application procedure is quite simple: complete the
                                                                        paperwork, have an interview with The Department of
                                                                        Multicultural Affairs, state your rights and responsibilities
                                                                        as Australian citizens and undergo a police check. Making a
                                                                        pledge of commitment at the ceremony is the final legal step.
                                                                        After hearing Christine’s story I realised how different her
                                                                        reasons for becoming a citizen were from mine. I am Dutch,
                                                                        married to an Australian, and have lived here for almost ten
                                                                                    Diversity… and Inclusiveness

How to be
an Australian
years. Until recently, it wasn’t possible for me to hold dual
citizenship without losing my Dutch nationality. Thanks to
the amended Netherlands Nationality Act of 1 April 2003, I
now can.

 I feel the importance of being Australian. My children are
 growing up as Aussies and speak English with a fair dinkum
 accent. I follow the achievements of the Australian cricket
 team and can name Mr Howard before the Dutch prime
 minister. However, I feel a bond with Holland because of my
 noticeable accent when I speak English, and also because
 of my much-missed relatives and friends. I have ties with                                                                         17
 both countries, and I want to stay committed to both. It’s
 like going from having one child to two, you think you won’t
 have enough love to go around but you soon find a perfect        Jacqueline with her children, Shannen, Lance and Glen, and
 balance. I am looking forward to the official ceremony that      the mayor of Geelong
 my family will attend. Afterwards the kids can say to me:
“Mum, you’re one of us now”.
                                                                  PS On 26 January (Australia Day) Jacqueline
                  Jacqueline McGrath                                 became an Australian citizen.

Family Fun Day in Ogunu Camp, Nigeria:
          a big success
               Hats off to Shell SPDC General Manager West, Maarten Wink,
               for promoting diversity and inclusiveness in the Shell camps
               Ogunu and Edjeba!
               Last November the camps enjoyed their first        the piano. The adults lingered on around the tennis court
               Family Fun Day. It was high time to build a        watching the finalists battle it out for the winners’ cup. The
               bridge between the communities, and break          champions were as diversified as the event planned: first
               down the barriers of language, religion, culture   place went to Wale Olawoyin, Nigerian, and Amalie Morgan,
               and tradition. Volunteers agreed to spearhead      South African. Jane Talbot, English, and Alberto Blasco,
               the activities, and T-shirts with a ‘Family Day’   Argentine, were the second place champions.
               logo were given to each participant, to foster a
               sense of togetherness.                             The organisers were delighted that the event was such a
                                                                  huge success. Maarten Wink has committed himself to doing
The day began with an icebreaker to get people better             more to promote diversity and
acquainted, followed by sporting events such as softball,         inclusiveness in Shell camps,
tennis, boules and volleyball. The kids enjoyed competing for     and more events to bring
prizes in the pool, sack racing, apple bobbing and bowling,       the camps closer together
and took part in a contest to draw the ‘ideal family’. A bouncy   are planned. Family Fun Day
castle and a colourful clown entertained the younger children.    certainly spurred us towards
                                                                  our goal.
The day ended with a children’s talent show: ‘acts’ ranged
from singing and dancing to reciting a poem and playing           Rhonda Wilson-Dikoko
     Shell Partners

     Supporting males:
      a prodigal lifestyle, the perfect companion,
     or an allegory of life’s uncertainty?
      Sitting in the cramped waiting room of Houston’s Shell            The New Skirt
      medical facility with my partner, awaiting a physical before      I accompanied my partner to The Hague. After several months
      journeying to our new host country, I began to complete           in our new environment I was becoming restless, and decided
      the questionnaire handed to me. Appropriately, the first          it was time to find work. Searching through Shell’s job postings,
      name requested was that of the person in the leading role,        I found a few of interest, and was hired for a support-staff role.
      the employee. Following that, a blank line solicited not the      On my first day, another male employee greeted me with, “So,
      name of the person in the supporting role, but a ‘wife’s          are you the new skirt?”
      name’. Humiliating as it was, I proceeded to fill in my name
      only after I had scratched out the word ‘wife’ and inserted
     ‘partner’. My mental sensing was immediately provoked.             One of the Girls
      Wife’s name? Why not simply spouse’s or partner’s name?           I had been taking my stepson to school and picking him up for
18    Was this a prelude to my new role, or a backdrop to the           almost two weeks, and during that time was treated cordially
      unfolding parody of the male ‘trailing partner’?                  by the other ‘moms’. In the middle of the third week a small
                                                                        group of mothers approached me and commended me on how
     While many people view the opportunity to move to a                well I helped my stepson get ready for class and find his task
     different country as merely a sumptuous trip abroad,               for the day. They proceeded to invite me to join them for tea
     challenges such as this can be uncomfortable. However, with        that morning. It was very nice to be accepted as ‘one of girls’.
     men increasingly accompanying their spouses or partners
     on expatriate assignments, the rewards, obstacles and
     challenges are evolving, and are often shared by the host          Room Mother
     country and the company.                                           In my son’s classroom for a parent/teacher meeting, the teacher
                                                                        asked the parents if any would like to volunteer as room mom.
     The following anecdotes chronicle the circumstances of some        Being one of the few male parents there, I raised my hand and
     men living as trailing spouses or partners:                        asked if she only wanted moms. Another gentleman in the
                                                                        room laughed and commented, ‘Whoa, I guess that gets us off
     The Kept Husband                                                   the hook’. Needless to say, the teacher declared that she would
     “How nice it must be to be ‘kept’!” someone commented. I           be more than happy to accept a dad as ‘room mom’.
      replied, “ My wife is the kept one. All she has to do is get up
      and go to work each day, while I get the kids ready for school,
      wash clothes, clean the house, iron and get dinner ready.”
                                                                                                           Shell Partners

   “But what do you do all day?”
    “What do you do here in Den Haag?” Without hesitation, I answer, “Take care of the household and watch my three-
     year-old stepson.” After an awkward silence: “what does your wife do?” Being the supporting spouse, I run into
     the above conversation regularly. Politically correct or not, most people assume that being the male spouse, I am
     the one working to support the family. Actually, I am one of the few men who have followed their wives on an expat
     assignment and assumed the role of homemaker.

     What’s it like, being a male supporting spouse? Basically, I make home life as easy as possible for my wife, so
     she can concentrate on her job. Armed with a city street guide, a guidebook to shopping in the Netherlands and a
     strippenkaart*, I set out to master living in the Netherlands. I plan and cook the majority of meals each week and
     make sure I shop enough times to have fresh food to get us through the weekend, since the stores are closed on
     Sundays. I have learned how to pick out the food I want and to shove, push and assert myself among the ladies in
     the market. I make sure all the bills get paid and take care of the business errands. I had to figure out how to use the
     stove (Celsius, not Fahrenheit), the washer (no directions – just letters on the dial) and the dryer (directions in Dutch
    - ‘extra droog’ means completely dry!) The dryer isn’t vented like in the US: it has a moisture collection chamber that
     needs to be emptied after each use.

     My most important responsibility is caring for my stepson. I make sure he is properly dressed, has breakfast and gets
     to school on time. I collect him when class lets out, talk to the teachers, mingle with the other ‘mommies’, arrange         19
     playgroups, chitchat and am accepted as one of the ‘girls’.

     You could call this a classic case of role-reversal with me as ‘Mr Mom’. Or as I look at it, a chance to appreciate the
     role of a supporting spouse and show support for my wife. By accepting the role and doing the best job I can, we as a
     family can truly enjoy this wonderful expat experience.

                                                                                                          Rob Zlebis

‘Women only’                                                            Instead of The Kept Husband, maybe CEO of an Expatriate
I remember as a child my sister would occasionally hang a               Partnership.
sign on her door: ‘Girls only. No boys allowed!’ Never did I            The New Skirt could be Multitasking Male of Style.
imagine that a similar implied sign would still be hanging on           Dad of Daily Directional Designation and Deployment
an adult’s door. Accompanying my wife in The Hague, I found             could replace One of the Girls.
that the opportunity for American men to socialise with other           Room Mom? Why not just Room Parent?
expatriates in an organised setting is virtually impossible. The        Regarding Women Only, call yourself Today’s Male,
majority of the established organisations are women-only.               form a new club and invite men and women to join. Be
I enquired about joining the American Women’s Club. In lieu of          inclusive!
full membership, I was offered membership of the library only.
Full membership is reserved for women.                             Of course these titles are fun and creative, but also
                                                                   important. Men, create your own! Hopefully your new self-
Entertaining as some of these personal accounts may be,            proclaimed title will remind you of your importance to those
each offers insight into the challenges and new lifestyles         who matter most: your spouse/partner and your family. In
male accompanying partners experience. Why let the world           the end, the rewards will outweigh the obstacles.
around us blur our vision of what is most important?
I decided to have some fun and create new titles for these
                                                                                               Joel Cognevich
men. Something like:

         Despite the condescending designation ‘trailing spouse’ or ‘trailing partner’ those
         accompanying on an expatriate assignment, whether male or female, realise that they
         are more than a simple tag-along. Those who are ‘trailing’ deserve a more tting
         title for their involvement promoting Shell globally. Perhaps ‘supporting spouse’ or
        ‘supporting partner’ is suitable recognition?

* tram/bus ticket

                    A European acquaintance once remarked that she had lived
                    in a few Muslim countries, and found that in each one Eid-
                    ul-Fitr (Eid for short) is celebrated differently. My response
                    was: yes and no. Eid is celebrated in the month of Shawwal
                    by Muslims the world over, following a month of fasting in
                    Ramadan. While Muslims in different countries may wear
                    different clothes and, to the unaccustomed, appear to
                    recognise Eid in a different manner, two things dominate:
                    renewing relations with family and friends, and asking their

                    I was recently at my second Hari Raya (the name for Eid in
                    Malaysia) since repatriating to Kuala Lumpur. Ahmad and I
                    and our kids reached my parents’ home, about three hours’
                    drive from Kuala Lumpur, the day before Hari Raya. It was
20                  the final day of fasting. My mom, a gutsy woman of sixty-
                    five, had just had the whole house repainted bright yellow
                    on the outside and pale yellow inside. It had been more than
                    a decade since the wooden house on stilts was last painted.
                    Like others in the village, it had many windows and was
                    shaded by rambutan and coconut palm trees that swayed
                    gently when a mild breeze blew. To snatch a glimpse of the
                    goings-on within, you need to climb a stairway that leaned
                    against the veranda.

                    It’s a hectic day today – a welcome change from my
                    parents’ normally tranquil lifestyle. This is the day on which
                    we prepare savoury delicacies and deliver them to the
                    neighbours and close family members in what is known as
                    the ‘munjung’ tradition. We have 10 families on the list; a
                    modest number. My uncle, a thriving businessman, has more
                    than 30.

                    All day, the kitchen buzzes with activity. There are fish
                    and chickens to clean, meat to dice, vegetables to slice
                    and grated coconuts to squeeze. One could easily be
                    overwhelmed by the task in hand, for the prepared foods
                    must be delivered before iftar (breaking of fast at dusk). But
                    we systematically divide the chores between family members
                    young and old, my maid included.

                    In the middle of it all, mom asks me to bring the kettle to
                    boil. I step out of the kitchen towards nine ceramic tubs,
                    each no less than four feet high, tucked in a corner and
                    huddled against one another. They each have a girth almost
                    that of an elephant’s belly. Some are brown, some green
                    and maroon, but each has two dragons engraved around
                    its middle. Fire spews from the beasts’ jaws and snouts;
                    razor sharp claws protrude from their toes. In spite of these
                    voracious features, the dragons have a warm, friendly look
                    about them. Within the tubs’ bellies is mom’s treasure
                    – rainwater. She would never, if she could help it, drink
                    anything but rainwater!

                                             Home for Hari Raya

Young and old mingle during Hari Raya                            Getting ready to visit family and friends.

By sundown, we have delivered all the food in tiffin carriers,   It rained tonight. If you have ever lived in a house with a      21
and broken our fast. Exhausted, I soon drift off to slumber.     zinc roof, you’ll have an idea of how deafening the sound of
At dawn next morning, I wash for prayer and notice how           raindrops pelting the roof can be when it rains heavily. The
sparklingly clean the house is. A row of cakes and cookies       wind came in soft blasts. I sat contented by the kitchen door,
sits on the table in the living room, ready to greet well-       legs crossed, teacup in hand. The tea was a strong brew and
wishers.                                                         its fragrant aroma and warmth seeped through my senses.
                                                                 I’m home.
Soon, every member of the family (25 in all, down to the                            Jamilah Samian
tiniest tot) is dressed in their best. We crowd around mom
and dad, who are seated on a sofa, and take turns to kiss
their hands and hug them, asking their forgiveness for any       One of the best things about repatriation
wrongdoing. This is a very significant ritual, as every Muslim   is being there for celebrations that bring
believes that a sin committed against a fellow human being       together family and friends - it’s fun,
may not be forgiven by anyone (even God) except that
person. Next to be approached are husbands, wives, uncles,       nostalgic, and weaves another path
aunts, and children and more hugs and kisses follow – and        in the realm of consciousness that says
sometimes tears as well – as each of us reminisces over the      “I’m home”
past year.

We have hardly had breakfast when the first visitors arrive:
my elder cousin Maryam’s children with their children – a fine
entourage, all 15 of them. Another group arrives before they
leave, a band of youngsters who are making an attempt to
visit as many neighbours by themselves as they can. There is
a flurry of activity to offer them drinks and sweetmeats and,
of course, catch up with one another. And so the day goes
on, with one group arriving almost before the previous one
leaves, for during the month of Shawwal no one needs an
invitation to visit. You try to see as many people as possible
to strengthen family and friendship ties, besides asking for
pardon for previous misdeeds. Beneath the atmosphere of
gaiety is a discernible air of solemnity.

     Every Muslim believes that a
     sin committed against a fellow
     human being may not be forgiven
     by anyone (even God) except that

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