Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Role of 1,000 Year Old Beads in Bruneeeeee

Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, May 1, 2016

IN TODAY’S world, beads are seen as insignificant trinkets despite their abundance and wide availability in many tourist and fashion retail stores. Beads have always been favourites among the women of the world and many men too covet them. They come in many sizes, shapes, colours and material that it is almost impossible to keep track of every single beads that had been on the market, whether today or in the past.

It is not surprising that beads are among the smallest artefact known to archaeologists, and is often the most found artefact and relic from many archaeological sites around the world, especially on sites of residences and villages or townships.

Beads had been used for thousands of years, and are probably among the earliest item worn to adorn oneself. Beads are more than just decorative items used to adorn oneself, or one’s dress or to beautify the house. They were more than that. Beads had been used as symbols of magic, symbols of power, trade products as well as for barter trading.

According to studies done throughout the world, including in Sarawak, beads can be made from many products. They were first made from materials easily found in nature such as pips or seeds from fruits, wood, shells and include parts of animals such as fangs, nails and bones of animals. As civilisations began to develop and modernise, beads were later made out of multi-coloured glass and stones.

Some beads were known to be made as early as 2,500 years BC in the Middle East. In India, it was 1,500 BC and was traded widely in China and Southeast Asia. Beads were also made in Southeast Asia and Vietnam by 1 AD. But Chinese beads dominated the market in the 7th century AD when China produced the best beads, and was the main largest exporter in Asia.

Brunei did not produce significant amount of beads according to a study done by the Director of Brunei Museum, Pengiran Dr Abdul Karim, in his paper presented during the One Borneo Beads Forum in 2011. However, beads were definitely one of the main trade items used in Brunei more than a thousand years ago. They were similarly used in Brunei for adornment, clothes, house decorations as well as for barter trade and status symbols.

The two major archaeological findings for beads in Brunei were at the Limau Manis River and the Brunei Shipwreck. The Limau Manis River archaeological site dated to around the 10th to 13th century AD during the Song and Yuan Dynasties. The Brunei shipwreck was dated to around 15th to 16th century AD during the Ming Dynasty.

The Limau Manis River site was accidentally found in March 2002 when the Sungai Limau Manis Widening Project was carried out. The workers working on the site found one of the most important finds in Brunei’s history. Not only was the find important, it was also very rich and very diverse and had a lot of artefacts and eco-facts spread across the two river banks. The area was so wide that part of the dry land was also filled with artefacts. This site predated the coming of Islam into Brunei.

The Limau Manis River community lived along the two banks of the river and built many houses of different sizes according to their wealth and socio-status. It is believed that they lead a rural life trading with each other for their daily necessities. They go out to farm, fish, rear animals, produce arts and handicraft. They also traded with outsiders as many artefacts found were of foreign origins. These included vases, beads, metal and gold and the likes. Money in the form of Chinese coins were mostly used here. Thousands of these Chinese coins were found coming from the eras of the Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasties.

The beads found in Limau Manis River site were made up of many different types, shapes and colours. Compared to the thousand of shards and vases found at the site, there were only 56 pieces of beads found. One of the explanations could be that due to the very small size, the beads were not easily found especially in the dark waters and in the mud of the archaeological site. These beads were made up of stones and glass.

The stone beads were of polychrome colour and made up of cornelian and agates. The glass beads were more interesting. These were mainly made by using the mould technique and a smaller number using the wire-wrapped technique. These beads were believed to be from the 10th to 13th centuries during the Song and Yuan Dynasties. It is not known clearly where the beads were from originally but they could come from China, India and the Middle East, these three being the major exporters of beads to the region in those years.

In the records of Zhou Rugua, it was noted that many Chinese traders went to Brunei Port to trade by selling forest and marine produce and exchanging them with other items including glass beads.

The other major archaeological finding was the Brunei shipwreck found in 1997 by Elf Petroleum Asia BV, who were conducting surveys for oil in the South China Sea off the Brunei Coast. The ship found about 32 nautical miles from the coast and in the depth of 63 metres were found to contain many artefacts. Among them were 14,000 vases from China, Vietnam and Thailand and countless beads as well as wood, glass and metal products. This ship was dated to be late 15th and early 16th century during the Ming Dynasty.

The beads found were of the same two types – stone and glass. The former only made up 410 pieces but the latter made up tens of thousands pieces. The stone beads were made up of cornelian and agates. The glass ones were made up of many different types and stored in many large vases. Round black beads made up around 18,500 pieces and the second was yellow beads numbering around 2,250 pieces. Other colours made up the rest. These beads were believed to be from the 15th to 16th centuries during the Ming Dynasty.

The Brunei shipwreck was believed to be on its way to the Brunei Port and Kota Batu, and the items brought by the ship was to be traded in Brunei as the port was also the administrative centre for the surrounding areas, where goods were brought from the interior to be exchanged with foreign goods. The beads were believed to be from China and India. The non-Chinese beads were believed to be collected at the various Chinese ports before being brought to Brunei for trading with the Brunei people.

All these beads indicate that the human needs for something decorative and symbolic have not changed much throughout the ages. Beads played crucial roles in encouraging international maritime trade in the past. Despite their diminutive size, beads have been able to move large ships and people across treacherous and dangerous waters so that they can be benefitted by people around the region.

Beads continue to play a role even in today's modern world.

The Brunei Times

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

CSPS Forum on Strategic Foresight and Horizon Scanning for Policy Making

Speech of Dato Paduka Haji Md Roselan bin Haji Md Daud, Deputy Minister, Prime Minister's Office at the Forum on Strategic Foresight and Horizon Scanning for Policy Making organised by Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) on Monday 2nd May 2016.


1. First and foremost, I’d like to convey my warmest appreciation to the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies or CSPS for organising this Forum and inviting me to present the Keynote Remarks as Guest of Honour for today’s Forum entitled "Strategic Foresight and Horizon Scanning for Policy Making".

2. Let me also take this opportunity to give my warmest welcome to our overseas guest speakers; Dr. Jose Ramos from Australia and Ms. Cheryl Chung from Singapore.

Ladies and gentleman,

3. We have seen many changes over the last few years. Oil prices have dropped from a very high above $100 price per barrel to today's barely above $40 per barrel. We are continuing to see the global economy still being sluggish. This is nothing new but a harbinger of more things to come.

4. In fact, the next two decades will pose considerable challenges for Brunei Darussalam in its efforts to sustain and promote growth and development. There will certainly be more uncertainties and complexities in global politics and economy and national development would be more closely tied to the forces of globalization in the fast changing technological era.

5. We all have come to realise the unpredictability of the future as evidenced from past happenings around the world, some examples include the Asian Financial Crisis, SARS, H1N1, the Global Financial Crisis, Ecological Challenges and Climate Change, Tsunami, to name but a few. This clearly shows that the 21st Century is an era full of challenges and uncertainties.

6. Brunei as a sovereign nation in general and the Brunei Civil Service in particular, should therefore be prepared to face those challenges and see them as a catalyst that encourages undertakings of more meaningful efforts to bring about more prosperity and stability.

7. His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his titah in conjunction with the New Year 2016 has stressed for Brunei Darussalam to continue to move towards economic growth that is steady and competitive, whilst being aware of the great challenges arising from the global economic uncertainty,” His Majesty has also emphasized that increased economic growth can be achieved by giving priority to increasing productivity through research and use of the latest technology.

8. We need to look to beyond the normal 'Business as Usual'. We need to look ahead. We need to plan ahead and we need to see things from a multi-dimensional perspectives instead of a linear one.

Ladies and gentleman,

9. Foresight studies and the use of Horizon Scanning has gained significant recognition by policymakers, executive leadership teams and strategic planning departments throughout the world as we realize increasingly that the world is actually quite unpredictable and risky. Indeed, in view of its relevance and usefulness for policy making, I am inclined to emphasize a well-known observation that "the only permanent thing is change itself".

10. Brunei, as I have indicated earlier, is not free from these often unanticipated challenges. In addition to our current difficulties from the oil crisis, there are unfortunately a number of emerging trends and issues which we as policymakers need to address. Brunei has to face, among others; paradigm shifts in patterns of work and employment, a large ageing population, erosion of traditions and past, accelerating pace of technological change, rapid and inevitable inter-connectedness and globalization, rapid obsolescence of knowledge and skills training, increased scientific unpredictability, and, severe climate change as well as environmental destruction.

11. The impact and pervasiveness of such emerging issues may not have been anticipated fully in the past so we cannot rely on policies that have worked in the past only.

12. As aptly observed by Professor James Allan Dator, the Director of the Hawaii Research Centre for Future Studies, University of Hawaii, we may think we know the future but the belief that the future will be just like the present is most often naïve.

13. Indeed, a good driver must look through their front windscreen and assume each street will be different. In the same manner, a good policy maker must be able to challenge our assumptions about the future to make the correct strategic decisions.

Ladies and gentleman,

14. We are facing many challenges, and Foresight can support visionary policy, working both nationally and internationally to develop ‘wise' futures. Our era demands that we “step up” to a higher level of thinking and action for our national development efforts to be successful.

15. From my own analysis, I understand that Foresight and Horizon Scanning is like a radar system for policy making allowing early detection of opportunities and threats. This awareness of change opens up opportunities for intelligent interventions that policy makers otherwise would not have known about, or would not have time to act on, equipping ourselves with early warning allows policymakers to strategically leverage change for success, rather than being victims of change.

16. Foresight analysis therefore creates alternative futures by making basic assumptions problematic. In questioning the future through the analysis of emerging issues and scenarios, the objective is to improve our current scenario by creating options for new and more desirable futures, especially those based on our Wawasan 2035 objectives.

17. In this context, I applaud CSPS’s new mandate to be an "Internationally Recognized Foresight Think Tank", in addition and as a value add dimension to its flagship as the premier think tank for strategic and policy studies for Brunei Darussalam. This is especially so as there is currently low Foresight capacity in Brunei.

18. In its future plan, I note that CSPS is aiming to carry out five major tasks in pursuit of this new endeavour. Firstly, CSPS aims to build foresight capacity into its existing policy research and advisory role. Secondly, it aims to build expert knowledge and capacity in the application of foresight and horizon scanning methodologies that can be disseminated across Brunei. Thirdly, it aims to support the application of foresight in policy making by running foresight workshops with government and the community. As its fourth task, it aims to develop a CSPS based foresight network that can address specific strategic challenges for Brunei. And finally, as its fifth task, CSPS aims to collaborate with futures researchers and experts locally and from around the world to build a more international outlook, to build up its expertise with alternative foresight understanding.

19. In establishing itself as an internationally recognised Foresight Policy Centre, I believe that CSPS will support organizational innovation and the design of Anticipatory Governance strategies that fit CSPS’ mandate and serve the needs of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei.

20. I therefore wish CSPS success with this worthy endeavour and I hope that all of our stakeholders will collaborate and participate in this important national development effort.

21. In conclusion, I look forward to listening to the presentations by our Foresight and Horizon Scanning expert speakers. I hope that this Forum will provide a useful platform for discussion and exchanges in this very timely and relevant topic for Brunei.

Thank you.
Wabillahi Taufiq Walhidayah,
Wassalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Brunei Signs Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Minister of Energy and Industry at the PMO YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin (c) signing the Paris Agreement on behalf of His Majesty’s government on Friday, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Picture: Courtesy of Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO)

Rachel Thien
Sunday, April 24, 2016

BRUNEI on Friday joined 174 countries as they convened to sign the Paris Agreement on combating climate change at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Signing on behalf of His Majesty’s government was Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar.

The Paris Agreement calls for countries to work towards limiting the rise of global temperature to well below two degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, ratify the Paris Agreement.

In delivering Brunei’s national statement, the minister said Brunei accounts for 0.016 per cent of total global emissions annually, equating to about 7.244 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

“Regardless of this relatively low output, our commitment stands strong as part of our own national agenda to combat climate change, which is reaffirmed by our presence here today to sign the Paris Agreement,” he said.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin also reaffirmed His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s titah at the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014, where Brunei is committed to cut its total primary energy consumption by 63 per cent by 2035 from the Business as Usual case, with 2009 as the base year.

Brunei is also gearing towards increasing 10 per cent of its total share of the power generation mix from renewable energy by 2035, and is looking to maintain and enhance the country’s carbon stocks by increasing forest reserves from 44 to 55 per cent of the total land area.

The minister said the movement towards action against combating climate change will open up economic and entrepreneurial opportunities and innovation for the private sector in developing green technology and economy in Brunei.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin also called for countries to work together to support developing nations in the capacity building and knowledge transfer in this area.

Speaking to The Brunei Times in a telephone interview following the signing, the minister said Brunei has pledged towards the implementation of the aforementioned actions.

“In the next couple of years, we all have to play our part in implementing our commitment. Before the next meeting, Brunei will be up-to-date with the new requirements (under the agreement),” YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said.

He went on to say apart from the national actions which have been pledged towards combating climate change, it is pertinent for the government to work with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) here who advocate for a greener environment, as well as the public.

“Our NGOs such as Earth Hour, Green Brunei and Beach Bunch, among others, are good and they are on par with any other green NGOs around the world. They have good intentions and we all want Brunei to be an active player in the climate change agenda,” the minister said.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said he salutes these NGOs, and called for more collaborative efforts with the government. The minister also said more concerted efforts needed to be taken holistically on Brunei’s ‘No Open Burning’ policy, as well as working with oil and gas producing countries on a zero flaring policy.

According to the World Bank, billions of cubic metres of natural gas is flared annually at oil production sites around the globe.

“Flaring gas wastes a valuable energy resource that could be used to support economic growth and progress. It also contributes to climate change by releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere,” the World Bank said.

The minister added it is important to ensure Brunei’s reserve-replacement ratio is sustainable. Bloomberg explains the reserve-replacement ratio is one indicator of a company’s long-term ability to maintain or expand crude and gas output.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said Brunei will continue to work to meet their international commitments for climate change, including submitting the Initial National Communications and pursue the practical actions and measures set in the Intended National Determined Communications in a timely and effective manner.

At the last 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, 196 parties adopted the Paris Agreement.

Friday’s signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement saw the largest number of countries to ever sign an international agreement on a single day.

The Brunei Times



The Paris Agreement (French: L'accord de Paris) is an agreement within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. An agreement on the language of the treaty was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. It was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 (Earth Day), and 177 UNFCCC members signed the treaty, 15 of which ratified it. It has not entered into force.

The Paris Agreement calls for countries to work towards limiting the rise of global temperature to well below two degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, ratify the Paris Agreement.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Soto and More by the River

Ikhwan Salleh
Sunday, March 27, 2016

LOCALS are always on the lookout for new hype through social media, especially ones that are related to food.

Just two months ago, photos of soto went viral on the Internet.

What was special about a bowl of noodles soaked in flavourful soup topped with sliced chicken and garnished with herbs? Nothing out of the ordinary. However, what caught everyone’s eyes was the scenic view of Kampong Ayer in the background.

People searched far and near for the eatery that is blessed with the breathtaking view of one of the nation’s heritage.

Not long after, the location was shared and with the existence of GPS, it was not hard for anyone to discover Soto Pabo, which is situated in the nook of Pintu Malim.

With only three months of operation, the new startup has garnered more than 15, 000 customers, who fell in love with the aromatic broth of soto as well as the scenery.

Of course, the food choices offered by the riverside restaurant include a lot of favourite staples that tickle the local palate such as nasi ayam penyet, tumpi, and fritters.

Grilled goods like Lukan Bakar or Ikan Bakar are also available from 9am to 8.30pm on a daily basis.

Moreover, patrons have the option to savour their meals indoor or alfresco.

Owner Pg Hj Abu Bakar Pg Hj Othman said the food venture started as a side business to cater to nearby contractors building the bridge to Temburong.

However, a wide range of customers started to drop by and from then, the eatery bloomed with liveliness.

“I must thank our customers, both locals and foreigners, who helped to market the place as one of the go-to spots in Brunei to eat,” said the 56-year-old.

Pg Hj Abu Bakar also explained the concept was long concocted as a way to please the eyes and taste buds of the public, in accordance with their motto – Menikmati selera kitani dengan keindahan Kampong Ayer.

Currently, Soto Pabo can only house 70 customers at a time and during peak hours, 12pm and 5.30pm, few customers may have to wait in line for their turn to sit down.

He stated they would like to stabilise the food venture before expanding it both in space and menu. “In which, we will add more items such as Nasi Sambal Udang, Lukan Masak Lemak and not to forget Ambuyat.”

He added the growth may give opportunities to locals, who are looking for work.

“So far, we have only hired locals… and we would like to keep it that way as a way to tackle the alarming unemployment rate,” he said.

“This will also give them the chance to learn entrepreneurship and culinary arts.”

The kitchen department is led by Pg Hj Abu Bakar’s spouse Diana Hj Untong, who is happy with the positive feedback from their regular customers.

“Positive or negative, we would like to accept every criticism as a way to better our service,” she affirmed.

She elaborated that their soto and the rest of the fare are recipes that were passed down through generations.

“It has become a staple for us to prepare it (soto) and other dishes during family occasions… and this is a good chance to share the good in it with everyone else,” she said.

For those who are keen to have a small gathering at Soto Pabo, the indoor room, can accommodate up to 30 people. In addition, guests can have the choice to order ala carte or buffet.

For bookings, call Pg Abu Bakar directly at 8998898. To get there, turn into Spg 222 on your right side if you are on your way from the capital to Kota Batu.

The Brunei Times

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Brunei's Maritime Trade in the Past

A file photo of Kublai's Kahn, a 27-metre Chinese junk anchored in the Hong Kong Harbour. Chinese traders have been trading with Brunei since the early centuries. Picture: EPA

Rozan Yunos
Bandar Seri Begawan
Sunday, April 24, 2016

THE Maritime Executive website on February 24, 2016, had this news headline “Brunei: Asia’s Newest Trade Hub” as the website reported about the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Brunei and China, and that the sultanate has voiced her interest in becoming part of China’s Maritime Silk Road as Brunei attempts to reduce its dependence on oil and gas revenue.

The silk road refers to the ancient trade route with China dating back to the 14th century of which Brunei used to be a part of. The modern Maritime Silk Road is now officially known as the 21st Century Maritime Silk Route Economic Belt, a Chinese initiative to increase investment and foster collaboration across the historic Silk Road.

What role did Brunei play in the maritime trade route in the past?

The maritime trade played and continue to play a very important part till today. Before the era of the airplanes, shipping was the dominant transportation being used for everything, especially trade. Goods were able to be moved about and shipped from one port to another that resulted in many foreign products being available in many parts of the world.

Southeast Asia is an equally important region which is rich with many products required by the international market. Southeast Asia itself is split into the Southeast Asia mainland and the Southeast Islands. Both areas produced high quality and exotic trades made up of minerals such as gold and diamond, forest produce and agriculture such as the sandalwood and spices and marine products such as pearls. These produce made the Southeast Asian region an important part of the maritime trade route which began from around the end of the century BC to the early part of the AD including up to now.

For regions around the Borneo Island, Brunei was an important port and was known by many names in the past. In Sanskrit, Brunei was known as Bhurni which means earth or country. In Arabic, Brunei was known as Barni, Burnai and Barani. Under the Javanese, Brunei was known as Buruneng.

In the Chinese records of the 9th to 15th century, Brunei was known as P’o-ni and Wen Lai and among the Western records, Brunei was known as Bruni, Brunai, Brune, Brunee, Bruney, Borneo, Borney, Bornei, Borne and Burni. These multitude of names depict the importance of Brunei as an important trading place in Southeast Asia in receiving travellers and traders of multi-ethnicity to for them to stop and trade.

Reasons for Brunei to be the centre of trade

Firstly, its geographical location. Its strategic position at the northeastern part of the Borneo island enables trading ships to berth. This allowed Chinese traders to deal directly with traders in Borneo. During the 12th century, Brunei was known by the Chinese traders as the Small Eastern Ocean. During the 13th century, the Eastern Trade Route linking Taiwan, the Philippines and Brunei with the major ports of China especially Quanzhou was formed. During the Ming Dynasty Brunei was also known as The Eastern Ocean and Beginning of the Western Ocean.

Secondly, Brunei like other countries in Southeast Asia benefitted from having a two wind monsoon system which affected many aspects of the people’s life. The first wind is the west or south winds during May to August and the second is the northwest or southwest winds in December to March. This allowed ships to travel to and fro China following the monsoon winds. The trade allowed many ports in Southeast Asia to benefit from preparing the ports and warehouses to providing services such as provisions and workers.

Thirdly, Brunei’s position in the Brunei Bay. The bay is the largest in the northern part of Borneo facing the South China Sea. Its calm waters and location in being a shelter from the strong monsoon winds enabled ships to berth and unload or load their wares. At the same time, the Brunei River which connects to the Brunei Bay is also a wide, deep and calm river. This river also connects to the interior of Brunei such as Limau Manis, Mendaun, Gadong, Damuan and the likes. Archaeologists have found a number of archaeological sites along these rivers with some dating to the early 8th century.

Fourthly, Brunei and its surrounding areas produced many exotic trading items of high quality and much demanded especially in China. Brunei was known for its produce such as camphor, rattan, sago, betel nuts, sandalwood, beeswax, birds’ nests and tortoise shells. Among all these, camphor was highly demanded, not just in China but also in the Middle East. According to Zhou Rugua, in the early 13th century, traders would bring items such as gold, silver, cloth, silk, glass bottles, beads, tin, ivory bracelets, lacquer plates and bowls and celadon vases.

In the 16th century, Brunei was said to export to Malacca, food products such as meat, fish, rice, sago and produce from the forest such as honey, beeswax and resin. Cowries and pearls were also traded as well as poor quality gold dust. Traders would bring in cotton cloth, brass bracelets, colourful beads and pearl beads.

Fifthly, Brunei has its own trading system. Before the arrival of Islam, Brunei was said to have its own trading system which had been put into place and controlled by the government. It was said that for each trading ship, they will be greeted by the King and the dignitaries and the operation of the trading will be arranged by the Ports manager especially with regard to prices and the way for the wares to be sold. It was only after everything has been agreed, that the traders were allowed to market their products. They will also be protected by the law. After they had sold their wares, a token of appreciation will be given.

Finally, the fall of Malacca. When Malacca fell to the Portuguese in 1511, Brunei became the Islamic centre and new maritime centre in Southeast Asia. In 1530, Goncalo Pereira wrote that in 1530, Brunei was a very important port and had trades with Malacca, Siam and China as well as other ports.

According to a Spanish report, Brunei was a cosmopolitan city in 1578 with inhabitants from China, Cochin-China, Cambodia, Siam, Patani, Pahang, Jawa, Sumatra, Acheh, Mulaku, Sulawesi and Mindanao.

The most important golden period of the maritime trades for Brunei was during the Song Dynasty in the 12th century. Before this period, the trades were controlled by traders from India, Persia and Arab, the three maritime powers.

It was only when the Southern Song Dynasty (1128-1279) wanted to increase their revenues by encouraging traders to China as well as encourage Chinese traders to go overseas that they became the best in the shipping world and able to overcome those three earlier maritime powers. The Chinese ships were much larger and were able to carry much more compared to all the other ships. The trades to Brunei naturally increased even in the 14th century during the period of the Yuan Dynasty (1296 - 1368) in China when the East Trading Route was introduced which benefitted most nations on the islands region of Southeast Asia including Brunei and the Philippines. Brunei continued to receive more trades in the 15th and 16th centuries during the Ming Dynasty (1364 - 1644).

Brunei also saw its own seafarers going overseas in large numbers and they were involved in the maritime trade in Southeast Asia up to the Gulf of Siam and China. One Portuguese report cited that they saw a number of Brunei ships in Malacca including among them a ship belonging to the Temenggong and an official ship from the Sultan of Brunei to the Portuguese authorities in Malacca.

The Brunei Times

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