Friday, September 19, 2014

Joint Exhibition Brunei-Thailand

The Permanent Secretary for Media and Cabinet, at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Mohammad Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yunos and the Head of Delegation as the representative of the Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office of the Government of Thailand, Doctor Charoon Chaisorn, officiating the launching of the exhibition. | PHOTO: COURTESY OF PELITA BRUNEI (Azmah Haji Ahad)

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, 16 September 2014 : The Joint Brunei-Thailand Exhibition is focused on the ASEAN aspiration to become a community by 2015 as well as the efforts that had been and are being carried out towards its realisation.

The Exhibition themed, 'One Heart, One Community' was declared open by the Permanent Secretary for Media and Cabinet, at the Prime Minister's Office, Awg Haji Mohammad Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad Yunos and the Head of Delegation as the representative of the Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office of the Government of Thailand, Doctor Charoon Chaisorn.

This exhibition is one of the projects under the Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Broadcasting and Information between the two countries. Held at The Mall, Gadong, the exhibition is open to the public until Friday. ©BRUDIRECT.COM

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Brunei-Thailand: Broadcasting & Information Cooperation

The Permanent Secretary (Media and Cabinet) at the PMO Hj Mohd Rozan (2nd R) and Thailand’s Dr Charoon Chaisorn (R) at the opening ceremony of the 13th Joint Technical Committee Meeting. BT/Rasidah HAB


Thursday, September 18, 2014 - BRUNEI and Thailand’s active role in the ASEAN Digital Broadcasting project is hoped to encourage ASEAN members states to work together to meet the Analogue Switch-Off (ASO) target between 2015 and 2020, said the Permanent Secretary (Media and Cabinet) of the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday.

“As we are a part of the ASEAN Community, we continue to find new ways to produce programmes to generate and enhance greater understanding of our governments’ efforts to realise the ASEAN Community by 2015,” said Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos.

The permanent secretary was speaking during the opening ceremony of the 13th Joint Technical Committee Meeting under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Brunei government and the Thai government on the cooperation in the field of Broadcasting and Information held at the Rizqun International Hotel.

Hj Mohd Rozan headed the Brunei delegation for the meeting, while Thailand’s Dr Charoon Chaisorn, Deputy Director General of Public Relations Department, as the representative of the Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, led the 13-member Thai delegation.

The two-day meeting will discuss broadcasting and information cooperation projects between Brunei’s Radio Televisyen Brunei and Information Department and Thailand’s National Broadcasting Services and Public Relations Department.

Brunei and Thailand signed MoU on the Cooperation in the Field of Broadcasting and Information in 2001.

Since then, the two nations have continuously collaborated in promoting social and cultural understanding through various joint activities such as exchanges of programmes production, publication, exhibition and media personnel, said Hj Mohd Rozan.

The cooperation from these activities has strengthened our countries’ relationship and the camaraderie among our two people has been enhanced, he added.

“Let our meeting today be a continuation of our never ending effort to continue this relationship by producing more exciting and informative programmes that will be able to satisfy the needs of our people; to see for themselves and to experience the richness of the economic, social, cultural and tourism development of both countries,” Hj Mohd Rozan said.

Dr Charoon represented the Joint Technical Committee Meeting on behalf of ML Panadda Diskul, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister of Thailand.

“Our region and the world context have changed much over the past decade. What has not change, however, are our close relations, friendship and partnership. Our cooperation under the MoU has contributed to the building of the ASEAN Community, which will be in place late next year,” said Dr Charoon.

He added, “Our annual Joint Technical Committee Meeting provides a forum for our staff not only to discuss cooperation in the field of information and broadcasting, but also to share our ideas and experience on other issues of mutual interest.

The Brunei Times

Monday, September 15, 2014

USS Canopus AS-9 Visiting Brunei

I was leafing through one of my old books and found this first day cover which I bought many years ago. It was a first day cover to commemorate the visit of USS Canopus to Brunei on 30 May 1938. I have no idea what the ship is or what it was doing here in Brunei but I checked up on USS Canopus and found this from US Navy's website about the ship:

USS Canopus (AS-9), 1922-1942. Originally USS Santa Leonora (ID # 4352-A), 1919-1919, and S.S. Santa Leonora (American Passenger Liner, 1919)

Santa Leonora, a 5102 gross ton passenger liner built at Camden, New Jersey, for W.R. Grace & Company, was taken over by the Navy upon completion in July 1919 and placed in commission at that time as USS Santa Leonora (ID # 4352-A). She was briefly employed as a trans-Atlantic troop transport before being decommissioned and transferred to the U.S. Army in September 1919.
The ship was reacquired by the Navy in November 1921 and, following conversion to a 5975 ton (displacement) submarine tender, commissioned as USS Canopus (AS-9) in January 1922. Following several months service with the Atlantic Fleet, she steamed to the Panama Canal Zone and subsequently to the West Coast. In mid-1923 Canopus went to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and in the Fall of 1924 accompanied Submarine Division 17 to the Far East. During the next seventeen years, the tender supported the peacetime operations of Asiatic Fleet submarines in the Philippines, Chinese waters, and elsewhere in the western Pacific region.

When Japanese attacks opened the Pacific War in December 1941, Canopus was in Manila Bay. Though hit by enemy aerial bombs in late December and early January, she worked tirelessly to support the hard-pressed U.S. and Philippine defenders of the Bataan peninsula. Many members of her crew, part of an impromptu naval infantry battalion, directly battled Japanese army forces, while her boats were armed and armored to serve as inshore gunboats. On 9 April 1942, when the fall of Bataan made her further use impossible, USS Canopus steamed out into deep water and was scuttled. Many of her men were evacuated to Corregidor, where they continued to fight until that fortress surrendered on 6 May 1942.

 Credit: Department of the Navy

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Limbang Rebellion

I cannot remember when I first heard of this book and was wondering how I was going to get it. Luckily my colleague went off to Singapore and bought me a copy. The Limbang Rebellion was part of the Brunei Rebellion in December 1962. I noticed that lately many recent books write about the 1962 event as the start of the Malaysia-Indonesia Konfrontasi whereas we in Brunei see it in our own context and less in the context of the wider regional struggle.

Santa Oorjitham of the Malaysian Daily Star newspaper wrote a review of the book:

THE Limbang Rebellion in Borneo was the prelude to Malaysia’s confrontation – or Konfrontasi, as it’s more popularly known – with Indonesia and helped to convince Sarawakians of the wisdom of joining in the formation of Malaysia. Yet it is not mentioned in our school history textbooks and unless our families or our friends were directly affected, many of us know little about the weeklong uprising in December 1962. That’s why Limbang Rebellion should be on your year-end list of books to read.

Sydney-based historian Eileen Chanin brings a very personal angle and touch to her tale.

Australian-born Richard “Dick” Morris was British Resident of Sarawak’s Fifth Division when he and his wife Dorothy were taken hostage. Chanin, who later became their daughter-in-law, had access to the couple’s unpublished manuscripts and letters.She interviewed many of the players – including the Royal Marines who came to the rescue – and delved into archives in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Britain.

In an extensive bibliography, she has meticulously listed all her reference material – right down to the date on which she accessed various websites.But don’t let the pages of maps, glossary, footnotes, bibliography and index overwhelm you. Limbang Rebellion reads more like a thriller, drawing you into the lives of the people caught in the conflict.

Chanin sets the stage, pointing out that rebellion has had a long history in the region of Borneo, starting with the 1841 rebellion which British adventurer Sir James Brooke helped the Sultan of Brunei to suppress.By 1962, Sarawak had passed through World War II and the Japanese Occupation. “Britain wanted out – but most Sarawakians wanted the status quo preserved,” writes Chanin. She traces the responses to the plan for the British territories of Borneo to form a new Federation of Malaysia, noting that “many in Sarawak were wary”.

And she notes that Britain’s Colonial Office was “apprehensive about Indonesian moves in the Borneo region. It was expecting that the Indonesian Government would distract attention from serious domestic problems by launching ‘claim’ to neighbouring territory.”

By Dec 6, although Dick had received reports about a possible uprising from Limbang and from Miri, he accepted the official opinion that there was no certainty of trouble.

“We agreed that the Police should be placed in a state of alert but that no further action should be taken.”

But at 2am on Dec 8, the armed wing of the Brunei People’s Party (which opposed the formation of Malaysia) launched coordinated attacks across Brunei, in Sarawak’s Fifth Division and the western edge of North Borneo (now Sabah). Chanin then picks up the pace with a blow-by-blow account of the rebel action, the experiences of the hostages and the rescue mission that succeeded even though the Royal Marines were vastly outnumbered.

The book is not available in Brunei as far as I know but in Singapore, it can be bought at Kinokuniya Bookshop for S$29.96

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Brunei Darussalam: Boosting Connections

The Oxford Business Group reported the following update on Brunei on 25th August 2014:


Economic Update
Boosting connections in Brunei Darussalam 

Brunei Darussalam | 25 Aug 2014

In the run-up to ASEAN Economic Community integration in 2015, Brunei Darussalam is ramping up transport developments, chasing new opportunities and re-establishing past connections. With the potential for a boost in inter-ASEAN travel, the Sultanate is working to position itself as an intermediary for business and leisure travellers.

Isolated by the sea, Brunei Darussalam is cut off from access to both the Trans-Asian Railway and the ASEAN Highway Networks, which is spurring the authorities to improve air and maritime connectivity, externally, while expanding internal road connections. In its “Global Competitiveness Report 2013-14”, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Brunei Darussalam 49th out of 148 countries for the standard of its seaports, jumping eight places year-on-year, and 55th in terms of the competitiveness of its air services infrastructure, an improvement of 6 places.

Taking off

Most recently, Royal Brunei Airlines announced it would reinstate its route to Ho Chi Minh City. The route, which was cut in October 2011, has regained importance as passenger numbers to Vietnam jumped 15% in 2013. The airline announced in August it plans to run four round-trip flights a week starting in October.

The move is one of several efforts to increase air traffic with regional partners. Royal Brunei announced its order of seven A320neo aircraft in mid-August, due for delivery in 2018, saying that the planes were specifically intended to reduce fuel costs and serve potential new routes to Australia. According to the airline, the A320neo uses 17% less fuel than the A320s currently in use, and with Brisbane, Perth and Darwin just a few hours’ flying time away, the company is confident demand will rise.

With the increased passenger numbers, extensions to the Brunei International Airport are seeing timely completion. The $150m upgrade process, which is expected to finish later this year, is set to double passenger handling capacity at the airport to 3m and will include new arrival and departure areas, luggage handling facilities and expanded parking.

Maritime improvements

Developments are ongoing to improve road and maritime transport as well, spurred on by the country’s development plan, Vision 2035. The plan focuses on public-private partnerships and foreign investors.

Several projects are now under way. The 2.7-km Pulau Muara Besar Bridge seeks to improve connectivity between the manufacturing centre and the Sultanate’s mainland while the Temburong Bridge will connect that island to the rest of the country. The 607-metre Sungai Brunei, being built with the help of South Korea’s Daelim Industrial, will bridge Jalan Residency in Bandas and Kg Sungai Kebun in Lumapas. The bridges will better integrate the sultanate’s 3030-km road network, with the combined effects of both easing traffic and improving industrial transport to the ports.

The expansion of the main deepwater seaport or the container terminal at Muara is on track to be tendered in the current quarter. In 2001, the terminal handled approximately 60,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers – none of which were trans-shipment boxes. The increased capacity will allow for larger container ships, raising the port’s cargo handling capacity to more than 100,000 TEUs, of which close to 30% is expected to be trans-shipping traffic.

Port authorities also announced an upcoming tender for a project in late 2013, saying it would involve an extension of a 150-200-metre container-wharf at the terminal. The extended container terminal will enable both greater storage capacity at the site as well as improved transfer times to and from trucks.

While improved air and sea transport infrastructure will enable the Sultanate to remain an essential hub for the region, it will also help Brunei Darussalam to overcome its main challenge, which remains the diversification of its economy from oil and gas exports. Greater connectivity with the region will help the economic expansion process, particularly by encouraging multilateral trade and cooperation, and tourism.


Inspirational Quotes