Brunei place names

There is one hill somewhere along Jalan Tutong, way past Tanjung Nangka which has an identity crisis - maybe not the hill, but certainly whoever it was that named it all those years ago. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera when I passed by the sign, otherwise it would have made a very good visual photo.

Anyway, the hill is called Bukit Gunung Batu. For those who do not speak Malay, Bukit means Hill, Gunung means Mountain and Batu means Rock. This means the translation would be Rocky Mountain Hill? Probably the first time that you will see Mountain and Hill appearing together in the same name. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a mountain means a natural elevation of the earth's surface having considerable mass, generally steep sides, and a height greater than that of a hill. And the same dictionary says a hill is a well-defined natural elevation smaller than a mountain. So, what happen when the place is called both mountain and hill? Go figure.

Jalan Tutong has several interesting other place names. What I used to love is one village where my late step uncle used to stay called Kampung Batu 18. In those days the village did not have a name so Batu 18 which means Mile 18 - indicating it's 18 miles away from the capital - became a name. It's not the only one, two other villages next to it were called Kampung Batu 19 and Kampung Batu 20. The names were the most original that anyone can think of. Unfortunately the authorities step in and now the three villages are called Kampung Sungai Kelugos. Rather run of the mill name now, don't you think?

If you use a name long enough it will stick even in these modern times. My late father in law named the road next to his house, Jalan Bunga Dadap. He even put up a road sign for the name. When the official simpang usage came, the road has a simpang number but the self made sign remained. Eventually when the official signage came, that name became official. Jalan Sampah is another. You can't find the road anymore. It used to be called that as that was the road to the first landfill which is somewhere near Istana Edinburgh. That's why behind the Ministry of Health and in front of the Ministry of Finance buildings, there appear these small woods. The authorities can't build anything on it yet as there is still gas seeping through because of all the garbages underneath it. Anyway, the Jalan only became Jalan Menteri Besar when government ministries are all built there.

Jalan Kustin is another. This is the road leading off Jalan Berakas heading towards the back of the airport terminal near the RBA training center. It used to be called that as that was where the contractor Coastin used to be based - I am not sure what they do, must be a big contractor for the airport works or something. Anyway, people who used the road called it Jalan Kustin. It is now Jalan Terunjing Baru. Even that new name is a misnomer. The actual Kampung Terunjing is a few miles away.

So, if you have nothing much to do this Sunday, you can take a drive and pay attention to the official labels and signs. They are more fun than you think.

Comments

AnakBrunei said…
I remember one time when I was headed for Sungai Kebun I passed by this road sign called Tarap Bau, which if interpret it correctly (smelly burp) is not very pleasant for a village name heheh... although it could be the fruit tarap which is smelly.. either way, its kinda nasty for a name.

The other one I came across along the way was Buang Tengkorak or something like that which translated means dumping skeletons hmmm probably a burial site of some kind?
Anonymous said…
It remind me of my way to Lumapas and what caught my eyes was the name of the cemetary "Tanah Perkuburan Tunjuk Langit"
Anonymous said…
By indicating on the names of the places we also notice that, our country Brunei is a small place to live and all the people are live and scatter all over the places.
Name of the kampung such as:
Lupak Luas, Parit, ujong kelinik,ujong jalan, ujong Bukit, Bukit salat, Rimba, Tungku,kapok

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