MUARA, Brunei - BRUNEI. Long before it was the Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures, it was first the Abode of Peace.
Peace hasn't made many countries its home in our troubled world but it would be difficult to argue against the Brunei sentiment of a peaceful country.
Crime rate, especially that of violent ones, is one of the lowest in the world. Its people have never known hunger, famine, drought, plague, economic meltdown.
Nestled within a bay in Borneo, its neighbours have sheltered it from the worst effects of natural disaster. Its last and brief period of conflict was over half a century ago.
Peace is the long-term vision too.
The National Development Plan 2007-2012, with the nation's Vision 2035 in mind, had placed a mere 12.5 per cent of its budget on security, police and its armed forces, while almost a third of it went to social services and over 40 per cent was spent on education, medical services, housing and public utilities.
Such is the inertia of history, preventing the country from losing its hold on such a coveted label. Such is the momentum of current trends, continuing to build up the image of a safe and secure Brunei. A peaceful Brunei.
It comes as no surprise that many people who've come to Brunei have chosen to settle down.