This is part 1 of a 3-part series on an infographic we released on 23rd February called “The 33”.
This year, Brunei celebrated its 33rd National Day. As a Bruneian, I’d like to celebrate this differently. So I thought, “What would you do as a Bruneian to celebrate?”
During every year’s National Day celebrations, people who are usually busy at their workplace will turn out and march under the hot sun. As we saw this year, they were marching in the pouring rain and it was fabulous! I could feel the energy and the sense of togetherness they shared.
And as quickly as it arrived, the day was over. Truthfully, I would not want our National Day fervour to simply end as the sun sets.
This year I asked my team if we could do something different. I requested them to nominate whom they would choose to be an “idea-maker” or a “change-maker”. We chose women because simply; why not? Women are movers and shakers that tend to move behind the scenes and do not get highlighted as much.
Women are brilliant. They shape and develop the next generation.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t highlight everyone. Hence, we had to find a common factor that bind these women together. At the beginning, the project was to highlight 33 women. It was then I realised there was another area I wanted to highlight – those who were born after our independence.
And this became the 33<33 project
As per any list compiled this way, people will have their opinions; some agreed, some disagreed and some were unsure. This is not a comprehensive list and by no means exhaustive, nor was it meant to be the only definitive list.
Putting this list together was not easy. We missed out on a few people because we were unaware of them. There were also a few women who even refused to be featured. Additionally, I made a mistake – which I will talk about at the end of this series.
In the end, we pushed through and it is out. Here they are, in alphabetical (ish) order…
Aimi Ramlee | Technology Startup
Aimi is a passionate entrepreneur. She started out in the publishing industry in the UK before moving to Hong Kong. Upon coming back to Brunei, her first startup was a property platform for real estate companies. Today, Aimi is working on building applications for clients across the world including New Zealand, Australia, and South East Asia with a new startup.
Update: Muslyfe congratulates Aimi on being selected as part of the ASEAN Leaders program hosted by Australia. (Finally saw the official photos so we can let this secret out now.)
Angie Ang | Helping Startups
Angie is a qualified solicitor who stumbled across the startup industry by accident whilst studying in the UK. Picking Startup Law thinking that it was just an extension of the corporate law modules, she discovered the world of startups and attended the London Startup Campus which also houses Google Campus London.
After leaving her job in the UK, she realised that she missed the startup world and looked around Brunei to see where the startups were. Brunei’s ecosystem was then pretty scattered. A lot of earlier founders had either given up or built a successful business overseas. She eventually found an outlet through DARe and has been helping the startups who have very little knowledge in law complexities and is an advisor on startup law.
Atiqah Ismail | Fashion Startup
With a background in Oil & Gas, Atiqah comes from a family of a pair of siblings who are both entrepreneurs. Originally starting a jewelry store at the Mall called Xoia with her sister and cousin, Xoia is now a fully online e-Commerce destination, with a small studio in the suburban area.
This year Atiqah is focused on growing her international collection and we have earmarked her as a potential contender for several international fashion challenges.
Amy Cheong | Performing Arts – Dance
Amy has always loved dancing. She started with Relentless Studios sometime in 2008. Now, she conducts classes for youth and has won quite a few awards along the way including in the United States.
Amy also continues the love of musicals today and has several musical productions that she organises with the children she teaches.
In her own words:
“After being around for almost 10 years now, we are still firm believers that Brunei is a goldmine of talent and we are here to support the many talents in the performing arts as we possibly can.”
Ajeeratul Abdullah | Fashion Media
Ajeeratul (or more well known as Jeera), attended the prestigious London College of Fashion which has helped transform the way she thought about the fashion world. She has attended a number of fashion shows in Japan, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore; allowing her to meet many faces of the industry.
This inspired her to start her Fashion Media startup which she believes can inspire fashion as an industry that can diversify the Brunei economy.
Charlotte Lim | Youth (also for Performing Arts – Dance, and Creative Arts)
Charlotte, a LADMMI alumni, is a professional dance teacher that works hard to encourage both Dance and Creative Arts in Brunei. In addition to her local work, she is part of a Global NGO – Global Shapers. She is also a co-founder of The Creative Core, Brunei.
In her own words:
“Global Shapers is all about creating a positive difference in our local community. I’m currently part of the GS BSB community as one of the project leaders. Our current focus is on tackling Youth Unemployment.”
Farhanna Pura | Fashion Startup
Farhanna’s Na Forrér brand is very well known in Brunei. She strongly attributes her fashion sense and dedication to Barbie and not surprisingly, the Spice Girls.
Many fans know Na Forrer through the way she injects local heritage into her fashion lines. One of her signatures is a local weave known as “tenunan” Brunei, which sets her apart from a number of the other Bruneian designers. She recently debuted her latest collection at London Fashion Week 2017, and it was met with significant applause.
Fatin Arifin | Youth (also for – Startups, Entrepreneurship)
It is not hard to introduce Fatin, Chevening scholar alumni, former CAYE-Asia President and winner of several awards for youth. Now taking on the challenging role of marketing Brunei’s global brand for food, Fatin still makes time for youths. As Vice President of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei, she helps shape youths to succeed in business. Fatin is also an executive team member of Green Brunei and runs her own business.
Hafeezah Mahadi | Lifestyle
Hafeezah is an inspirational woman. She takes her fitness very seriously and this can be demonstrated in how she is disciplined in her training. She is also a highly popular makeup artist.
In her own words:
“Fitness is a lifestyle. To me, it’s not just about dieting and training in achieving your fitness goal but rather a long-term approach in order to maintain good health. It is something that I can’t just quit because I always remember how I started, how much time and effort I have spent [working on this].”
(Dr.) Hafizah Salleh | Women
Dr. Hafizah was a delightful discovery. We reached out to her when we found an Instagram account focused on highlighting Bruneian women. Much to our surprise, Dr. Hafizah is student currently undertaking Pediatrics in the UK. A mother of two, she juggles the overnight shifts at the hospital whilst studying and curating stories to inspire women in Brunei.
Hanna Hassanal | Social (also for Environment, and Youth)
A former member of Green Brunei, Dk Hanna Afiqah Pg Hassanal has been involved in NGOs since the age of 16. Hanna’s previous work is extensive, and we’ll be catching up with her to find out more in the next few months. Her works include collaborations with the British Heart Foundation, OXFAM, Frontier, SCOT, EffectChange, and many others.
Hazirah Marzuke | Social
Hazirah is often mistaken for a Social Media guru, but the truth is, she is a data expert. A former civil servant, Hazirah left to pursue her studies with an MA in Digital Sociology (a study of how technology affects our societies).
She is best known as one of the co-founders of B:Read which promoted the idea of book swaps to encourage more Bruneians to read.
Ikmalina Yunos (aka Kimmy) | Gaming (also for Startups, Youth, and Creative Arts – Design)
Kimmy won first place a few years ago in the student category of a national business plan competition for a game she developed [to educate the public on the discovery of oil in Brunei]. From there she moved on with dreams of building the first gaming studio in Brunei. Her passion and dedication to pushing a better startup ecosystem meant she was given a seat on the DARe board as she continues to push for change to help other emerging startups.
Kelly Lee | Startups
One of the three Bruneians living abroad featured, this Mata-Mata native first worked at Malaysia’s biggest startup development organization, MaGIC. Kelly then pursued to lead a corporate startup; PGEON, a subsidiary of EasyParcel. In addition, she also runs her own small eCommerce startup, Agents of Strength. With these two startups under her purview, 2017 is indeed a very busy year for Kelly.
[Part 2 will be out on Monday, 6 March 2017. Stay tuned]
Update: I will probably have to say it’ll be out this Thursday as I have not finished it! – Hadi