Is Bukit Beruang (Bears' Hills) full of Bears?

I was at Bukit Beruang yesterday to attend another wedding. For those who sort of vaguely remember seeing the name - it's a resettlement area on the way from Tutong to Kuala Belait. Bukit Beruang was originally a small village until they turned the nearby area into another perpindahan or resettlement area. It's populated mostly by Tutong people and a few other non-Tutongians who applied to get a house there.

I couldn't find an old enough person to tell me whether the name Bukit Beruang which is Hill of Bears or Bears' Hill was named because there used to be many bears around the area. So that has to remain a mystery. I did meet someone who said that the names do not necessarily reflect the names of animals even though it is obvious enough.

According to him, Bukit Ambok is one. Ambok as you know is the Brunei Malay word for monkey. Presumably Bukit Ambok is Monkey's Hill or Hill of Monkeys and used to be lots of amboks or monkeys there for that hill to be name so. However he said this is not so. Bukit Ambok is not named after a monkey but a fruit. 'Ambug' is an old Tutong word for buah mata kucing - mata kucing or cats' eyes is a type of longan like fruit but smaller. On this hill, there used to be many 'ambug' trees - so the hill was called Bukit Ambug. But over time, Bukit Ambug becomes Bukit Ambok.

But surprisingly another animal place name in Tutong does not sound like an animal place name unless you know the Tutong language very well. Lamunin is derived from two words. Lat and Munin. Lat apparently means hill and Munin means musang or fox. Lat Munin the original name, means Fox's Hill or Hill of Foxes as there used to be foxes around the area. Over time, the two names merged and became Lamunin and thus concealing its animal connection.

Bukit Markucing in Jalan Subok is another one. I wrote about it in June last year. The name is derived from kuching liar or wild cats which came to eat leftovers of travellers travelling across the hill. Another interesting animal name is somewhere off Jalan Tutong called Krakas Payau. Payau is a stag deer and krakas refers to either the trails or sound it makes. There are a few more animal derived name places in Brunei. More of that in the future.

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