Anger over the death of African American man George Floyd, who died in the United States in May after a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, quickly swept across the globe.  Even in Brunei, where people rarely speak out about contentious issues, there was significant support for the Black Lives Matter movement. 

There was also division as some Bruneians accused local Black Lives Matter (BLM) supporters of hypocrisy for generally ignoring deep-rooted racism within the country. In this majority ethnic Malay nation, evidence of political and cultural bias towards ethnic Malays, and racist attitudes towards non-Malays, can be found everywhere from the classroom to businesses and workplaces and are also baked into the country’s laws and government policies.

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Matthew Woolfe is an Australia-based freelance writer, human rights advocate and the founder of The Brunei Project, an independent initiative that raises awareness about human rights issues in Brunei.

Jiwo is an aspiring Malaysia-based artist/illustrator. His body of work mainly revolves around surrealistic art structured around his peculiar philosophy and spirituality. View his works at Reach him at