How has your life changed ever since your country reported its first coronavirus case?

As far as the people of Brunei are concerned, the buzzwords right now are “social responsibility” and “social distancing”.

On a side note, health officials have started to move away from using the term “social distancing” and are replacing it with “physical distancing” instead.

According to Dr Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaking at a virtual press conference last Friday, the move to use “physical distancing” comes from a desire to highlight “keeping the physical distance from people so that we can prevent the virus from transferring to one another.”

This means remaining in your house except for essential excursions, such as grocery shopping. Going for a run has not been barred, but while outside your home you are expected to maintain a distance of two metres or so between you and any other individuals on the street, to the best of your ability.

Limiting your contact with others could prevent the virus from using you as a carrier to spread further.

In lay man’s terms, all this means is more time with your loved ones … at home.


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The Neue team has compiled a list of things that you can do to help ensure your sanity and guide you through these hard times.

But don’t take our word for it.  All these were sourced by our amazing readers from Brunei and around the world. (Their answers have been edited for brevity, grammar and style.)#1. “Family” – Keeran, a business owner.

Slow down, stay home and appreciate family time.

Think about it … out of all this chaos you have been given time to be with your loved ones and family.

Some of us don’t have the blessing.

Everything else can wait. Just stay calm and stay safe.

#2. “Expand Your Mind” – Mohd Wayne, New Zealand expat teacher (25 years of service in Brunei).There are many online learning platforms like Quizlet that are currently offering free signup and usage through to June 2020.

There are other sites like ReadTheory.org, an online reading improvement and progress monitoring website that has been used by some schools here since 2017/18.

On a side note, I’d like to help school students with any learning issues.

If there are any students between (Year 7 to 13) who require help with English Language, Literature, History, or Art school projects, assignments or learning, they can drop an e-mail to me at wraggra@gmail.com.

#3. “Acquire Extra Skills” –  Rachael Lee, a fitness trainer.

This will be a non-fitness related answer! ?

Stay home and get your brain productive! Now is a good time now to pick up on extra skills. There are a lot of short online courses out there. My favourite go-to site is Udemy. Most of the courses are affordable!

#4. “Don’t Be A Scaremonger” – Cherry, currently in between jobs.Try not to panic. Refrain from social media if possible, especially if you have major anxiety about it.

After all, people have the tendency to be scaremongers. They seem to always only want to share the doom and gloom.

Just stay up to date with verified sources. Again, NOT social media posts by random people or WhatsApp groups!

Click on the photo to check out Neue’s past article – “Stop The Spread Of Coronavirus Misinformation”

#5. “Do Yoga” – Michelle, a mother of 2 based in Kuala Lumpur.Yoga can be a fun group activity!

Get your kids involved!

While teaching yoga to kids can be tremendously tiring, it can also be very rewarding!

#6. “Tidy Your Home” – Adlai Noel Velasco, a senior journalist based in Manila, Philippines.It’s a good time to clean up your mess at home. Be sure to throw away unwanted things!

Good time to reflect on your life too – your directions and goals!

I’d like to add if I were quarantined, I’d probably be writing a book.

As I’m still healthy, I’m still going to office to perform my duties as a journalist for the people.

#7. “TikTok” – Elizabeth Sim, a #Neue9to5 alumni member.

Click on the link to check out Neue’s past article – “The TikTok Way To Stardom”

Discover apps you haven’t had the chance to like TikTok! (I’m speaking from experience! Haha!)

#8. “Read” – Scarlet, deals with corporate communications.Why don’t you catch up on your reading? Isn’t it time for you to say hello to all the books you’ve stashed away?

#9. “Catalogue Your Day” – Aimz, an introverted but resourceful guy.Catalogue your day with light schedule of productive things to do. This will help you stay motivated. For example, read, write, exercise, learn, clean, organise, etc.

#10. “Don’t Just Eat & Sleep” – Maziah M, an athlete.

Click on the photo to check out Neue’s past article – “Brunei Women’s Footprint In History”

I do understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home.

My youngest sister is currently in self-isolation at a hotel. She was studying in Malaysia. She just returned to Brunei a few days ago and it’s really sad for my family as we are unable to meet her. Nonetheless, all of us will keep praying for everyone.

Staying at home and practising self-isolating present their own challenges, but there are things you can do to make the 14 days easier.

For instance, you could stay in touch with your friends and family over the phone. Doing physical exercise is also encouraged.

Please don’t just eat and sleep! Haha!

It’s going to be difficult but I’m confident that we all can get through this. Insya’Allah.

#11. “Eat Healthy” – Debbie Too, a banker and mom.As a family, we’ve been eating healthy, nothing cold. We’ve also been airing our rooms, minimizing the use of air-conditioners.

It’s important to try your best to stay active.

I’ve also encouraged my daughter not to spend too much time staring at the iPad or watching television (Netflix). So it’s more boardgames for her!

#12. “Stay In Touch” – DJ Izan, a very energetic, bubbly people person.Check up on your friends and family via technology such as FaceTime.

Other things that you could do is catch up on movies you haven’t seen or better yet … create your own movies!

#13. “Walk Your Pets” – Billy Lim, owner of Si Manja Pet Grooming Spa.I’ve been spending time with my pets at home and in the garden.

Walking them safely around the neighborhood (on a leash).

These walks are good for both pets and humans!

#14. “Work On Your Food Prep” – Audrey, a singer.Right now, I’m working on food prep such as wantons, meatballs, ‘popiah’ and ‘siew mai’. I’m freezing them and stocking up!

I’m also trying to step up my cooking and baking. In fact, I’m thinking about making chicken ‘sau pau’.

#15. “Pick up a new hobby” – Monika, a part-time traveller based in Indonesia.I’ve been drinking hot lemon and ginger too.

If this coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues any longer … I’m seriously considering taking up handicraft. Who knows … it could be basket weaving to fabric printing, ceramics to embroidery. There is no end to the range of craft activities!

#16. “Maintain Your Routine” – Nur, mother of 3 fur babies.I firmly believe that you must maintain your routine i.e. get up when you would usually get up for work, make your bed, do your makeup, etc.

Go and and read that book you’ve been putting off and go tidy up the rooms that you “never had time to do” even if it’s just bit by bit.

And I think most importantly, keep in contact with your friends and family.

This is especially true for me living alone … the biggest thing I miss the most is face-to-face interaction.

Thank goodness my cats help with that. But chatting with friends also helps.

I can’t wait till I get to hug people again!

#17. “Stay Fit & Healthy” – Nexy, a fitness coach.


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The prospect of staying at home for any prolonged period of time can seem overwhelming and a little scary, especially if you’re someone who enjoys keeping fit and active .

Rather than letting the isolation scare you, why not, instead, try and embrace it as an opportunity to get your sweat on with new, at-home workouts you’ve never tried before, incorporate more simplistic healthy habits into your daily routine and mix things up a little or try new hobbies.

As far as I’m concerned, the important thing is to STAY ACTIVE while self-isolating.

For example, getting up at the same time every day, doing a workout first thing, taking a shower and making a nice breakfast, if that order appeals to you. It’s also good for your mental health!

Use this time also to try an at-home workout. After all, nowadays almost everyone has a mobile phone connected to WiFi. You can now stream workout videos!

#18. “Slow Down” – Kartika, a gym-junkie finding her zen during self-isolation.Take this time of isolation like driving over a road-hump. Slow (TF) down. Take your time.

Take the time to deepen your breath when you wake up.

Take the time to smell your coffee as you make it.

Take more time to wind down with good thoughts before going to bed.

Take your time to appreciate.

#19. “Keep Kids Busy” – Fel, working mom of 2.For parents with young kids, it’s mostly about keeping them occupied. I try to minimise their screen time by getting them involved with hands-on activities like painting, arts and crafts and playing board games.

#20. “Do ALL The Things You Said You Never Had Time For” Maharah Osman, a diver and mom.*Editor’s note: The Neue team saved Maharah’s response for last, as she had TONNES to share! Please note that what you’re reading here is the shortened version. Our apologies if it’s still too long!

Omg! I love this question so much! Why, you ask? It’s because I have so many things that I always wanted to do but I never had the time to do it!

My family and I just moved into a new place.

I always wanted to declutter and get things organised. And I’m doing it in phases. Marie Kondo’s philosophy / approach to clearing up stuff really helps you put things into perspective.

Gardening wise, I’ve been removing all those ‘rumput-rumput panjang’ (long grass). I also like to take my son (Taufiq) to his grandparent’s plantation.

I’ve also taken my son to a remote beach to do some clean up.

While I do think that reading books is okay, I prefer hiking – you know, something that actually makes me sweat (and I can see the results).

If I hadn’t gone through with my Cesarean delivery (C-section) I would most definitely be diving right now. A dive under the sea in Brunei! We’ve got amazing reefs and wrecks!

Another thing I’m considering is camping and playing more board games with my son. Okay! I’ll just stop right here as my baby is now crying! Haha!


What’s Neue with you?

Do you think that NOW would be the PERFECT time for you to do that thing you always “had no time for”?

The Neue team would love to hear your thoughts about this article.

Do you have an activity you’d like to suggest to the Neue team?

If so, get in touch with them via e-mail, WhatsApp or drop a DM via Instagram @whatsneue.

Click on the photo to check out “Brunei’s Ultimate Food Delivery Guide”