HJ MD Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Md Yunos (pic), Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office who oversees media and publicity, exudes a sense of joy that puts friends and strangers alike at ease.
In spite of his significant job title, he is humble. Hj Md Rozan will give you his full attention while talking to you, making you feel like the most important person in the room.
Kicking off our conversation, I asked Hj Md Rozan for his definition of a ‘good life’. With his contagious smile, he gazed up and then recited a quote that was prominently displayed on the wall of a former minister’s office: “Be nice to people on your way up, you will meet them on your way down”.
He explained that “when you are nice to people, this will be naturally reciprocated. When that happens, it makes life much easier for you and everyone else. And the world will be a better place because of this”.
Then I commented that the world would not be enjoying the iPhone today, if Steve Jobs was a nice guy…
In the manner of a wise scholar who has penned three books, Hj Md Rozan responded calmly: “There is more than one method of getting people to do work for you. You should want your staff to turn up to work because they want to, not because they have to.”
He promptly reminded me of the danger of being the naked emperor, the one to whom nobody dared to tell the truth.
Hj Md Rozan seems to have discovered the secret to a good life. Not just philosophically, but from a very practical perspective – piecing the puzzle together, living a life of absolute contentment.
He is married to a supportive wife who, for the past 23 years, reminds him to stay humble and cherish the fundamentals in life, he loves his job, and he lives in a home surrounded by precious collectibles, which he avidly accumulates. But most importantly deep inside, his heart is at peace with God.
As a child, Hj Md Rozan began collecting tiny items, a passion inherited from his parents who are also avid collectors of antiques.
About a decade and a half ago, he rekindled this passion as a collector of art, historical and any cultural artefacts that represent Brunei’s heritage. He seriously began to acquire specific items such as brass, coins, stamps, pictures, postcards, ship models and even commemorative Legos.
Every month, Hj Md Rozan would meet with about 50 other coin collectors at the food court in Gadong Property Centre to exchange knowledge and to acquire more possessions.
This hobby started when Hj Md Rozan began blogging about his thoughts and ideas on Brunei.
Back then, he would often post interesting photos of historical value that he wanted to share with his readers.
One thing led to another, and Hj Md Rozan started adding more genres to his collection. One of his popular books is called “Our Brunei Heritage”, which documents the Sultanate’s history in 51 short stories that are easy to understand.
Hj Md Rozan is grateful to the historians who made the effort to document the history of Brunei a century ago, as this has enabled him to get a better understanding of his roots and many key life lessons. He sums up the sentiment well on his Instagram, quoting: “The past teaches the present about the future”.
The desire to safeguard the stories of yesterday and today for future generations is the key impetus for Hj Md Rozan to pursue this unusual vocation. And this explains why Hj Md Rozan’s house is like a museum with an unending number of historical artefacts on display.
People who know him would call Hj Md Rozan the walking encyclopedia on Brunei’s art and culture, which should come as no surprise since he has previously held the position of Chairman of the Museum Board when he was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
Every day, Hj Md Rozan is living and writing a historical account of the present, for the future of the country. (Courtesy of Inspire Living)