‘The Future of Brunei Water Village’ was a one day workshop with year 10 students from Jerudong International School.
We first asked the students to air their preconceptions about the water village. What came out was: rubbish, sewerage, architectural heritage, walkway safety, structural integrity, dodgy electrics and loss of traditional building materials.
Among the issues considered were the new water village homes; built by the Sultan of Brunei the new homes may address critical safety and sanitation issues but can they sustain the unique water village culture? Some students were of the opinion that the new houses had the potential to be divisive and were not a ‘home’, although they did have the advantage of sewage system and safe walkways.
The students were asked to articulate their fantasy water village. What if the water village went under water or out to the ocean? What if the water was actually clean! What if there were green oases, iconic design, playing areas and a holistic brand. They suggested that poop compost could be sold to tourists, flowers planted, energy conserved, food grown and solar panels installed.
In this photo the students are receiving a kite-making masterclass from our guide’s father. Kites, according to our friend Ravi Chandran, are locally known as kikik and the students wondered whether a kite festival could help celebrate the water village culture.
The next Water Village workshop will task the students to select one of these ideas, or a new idea, and work it into fruition.