Singapore quality on a Bruneian pace

National 3 minutes, 45 seconds


SINGAPORE’S 50th National Day is an occasion to celebrate the city-state’s achievements from an economic backwater to a cosmopolitan society, a Brunei-based Singaporean said.

Dr Patrick Ang, a cardiologist at Gleneagles Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC), said the 50-year mark is a profound milestone for the republic.

“At 50, we come closer to wisdom about the people and things that are truly important to us, and it is time to celebrate Singapore’s achievements,” he said in an interview.

The 49-year-old said being at the SG50 parade yesterday made him proud to be a Singaporean.

Singapore yesterday marked its Golden Jubilee with its biggest parade at The Padang, which has hosted the National Day parade since 1966.

The theme for SG50 is for all Singaporeans to celebrate as one people, the SG50 website stated.

Dr Ang said he first came to Brunei looking for an adventure and explore new experiences 13 years ago.

“When Gleneagles opened a new cardiac centre here, I took it as an opportunity to join a new hospital and experience a different lifestyle in a new country,” he said.

Like many immigrants, he too experienced minor hiccups adjusting to a new environment.

Having been used to the fast-paced living and the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s city life, Dr Patrick said he took quite a while to adjust to life in the sultanate.

“The initial difficulties that we experienced was in the difference in the pace of living between the two countries. I was so used to getting things done immediately in Singapore.

My friends here would always tell me to relax and not rush things. It took me a few years before settling into the Bruneian pace,” recalls Dr Ang.

However, as someone who takes pride in doing what he does best professionally, Dr Ang finds it a major achievement that he could still contribute to the medical industry in Brunei.

“Both countries adopt the British training programme, so it is quite easy to fit into the system,” he added.

Reflecting on his years working and living in Brunei, the doctor said he is more than glad that he made the decision to settle down in the sultanate.

“I love the work and lifestyle in Brunei. The working hours are reasonable and the people are so warm, friendly and respectful”, he said.

“After almost 14 years here, I have a tight-knit circle of friends and colleagues. In Brunei I am able to spend most of my time with my family.

“Back home in Singapore, I leave home early in the morning and only step into the house after 8pm and I don’t have much energy left to do much after that,” he added.

Many of his patients have also become friends, and he said there’s no better time than the festive seasons to catch up with most of them.

“The month-long Hari Raya celebration is a great time to catch up with friends and many patients who have become good friends. And the food is always delicious.

“It goes back to the importance of relationships,” he said. “It’s the relationships you have that are going to open the doors for you. It’s all about performing your best and building solid relationships and networking,” the doctor continued.

He pointed out that every family will have “specialty dishes” at their Raya open houses in Brunei.

“Even Chinese New Year has become similar to Hari Raya with many open houses over the month. You won’t find this unique closeness in community ties in Singapore,” he said.

The cardiologist, who loves fresh-made kolo mee (noodles), has high regard for the traditional values of Brunei’s culture.

Describing Brunei’s culture as “very family-oriented and paying great respect to the elders”, he said frequent gatherings between friends and families are held to improve relations.

Apart from his profession, he also finds time to play the piano at The Empire Hotel & Country Club every Sunday at 3pm.

“I find it therapeutic and it is a good way to unwind after a hard day’s work,” he added.

Looking forward, Dr Ang aspires to train more Bruneian cardiologists to deal with rising heart diseases in Brunei.

He also hopes to develop the heart centre as a medical hub for Borneo and beyond.

“As for my family, I hope to raise my children here in Brunei because I think this is a great and safe environment to bring up children with minimal distractions and undesirable influences.”

The Brunei Times