Apalagini? Hana Zine, 2019

I knew of Faiq already when he was just sneaking into events and taking pictures without a pass to these events. Although, I didn’t know he humbly began his photography career in such gutsy fashion until we met with him this year.

He has been a legitimate source of all things silly sprinkled with Bruneian flair on Twitter. His online persona has been a prominent figure of soft patriotism in highlighting history by using humor (for the most part). He even participated in the manhunt for Awang Budiman in a skit for Songket Alliance’s live show in 2017.

The point is – Apalagini was an unsung hero we thought we didn’t need. He used complex observations about the country and complemented them with his own photographs (old & new), videos he shot and/or graphics he created and his writing that simplified information for easier consumption for our generation feeding off of instant gratification.

Recently, I’ve even suspected that The Bawang Times — a satirical account that tweets fake headlines to that of the Bruneian culture & lifestyle — was run by him. I have yet to confirm this information.

We met Faiq for a candid interview where he shares with us his two cents on creating content online, how the youth can help in improving the creative industry in Brunei and why he needed to say good bye to Apalagini.

“If you don’t change things creatively, you’ll keep on doing the same type of content and you won’t see any progress with your experimentation”

Apalagini was derived from the conversational nature of the phrase often used in casual conversations. It translates directly to “What is this again?” from the Malay language.

We discussed these two challenges faced by the efforts made by collectives for the it creative industry face when creating content was: accessibility and interaction.

In terms of accessibility – Apalagini gave us a safe space/platform that made interaction and discussion about the arts (any form of it) accessible for everyone. It helped that Apalagini was approachable and it did not feel intimidating to talk to someone about something without feeling stupid. Apalagini, despite the perceived nature of his account being of only humor content, he played a role in influencing others to reach out for art’s sake because why the fuck not? It encouraged interaction amongst the growing community of Bruneians and Brunei-bred foreigners online when they felt like they resonated with content that Apalagini posts up on his Twitter account. In the wise words of Apalagini, “Everyone’s opinion matters,”

He set the bar for what it’s like to be a content creator in this digital age, regardless of whether or not It’s Just A Tweet. We asked him if this was just an experiment and he told us that he puts a lot of effort into creating the content for Apalagini – Regardless of the type of content, may it be video or photographs as Faiq Airudin or graphics and funny tweets under Apalagini; Faiq set a standard for content creation, no matter how simple it’s supposed to be.

He believes that the different creative processes of individuals is something that should be worked with more because cross collaborations between different disciplines aren’t done enough in Brunei.
Apalagini connected with aspiring creators from Twitter and often collaborated with them to create an artwork inspired and created by women. As of recent, Faiq has commissioned illustrations by 6 female illustrators and had one of our featured artists, Wani Wash on Hana Zine to design the poster titled Working Women of Brunei for International Women’s day (8th March 2018). A feminist icon of a man. I stan.

Apalagini was put to rest simply because he intends to explore different mediums of self-expression without confining himself, understandably, to the expectations of his online persona that is Apa Lagi Ni. We are forever thankful for his contribution to the Twitter community of Brunei and we hope to see him create more! X

“If you want to find me, you can find me.”