Monday, August 31, 2009

Old Airport Road

I was furious the other day for not being able to win this photograph on ebay. I was wondering who else is out there trying to win old photographs of Brunei. I hope that collector is a Brunei and would one day be able to share with us his collection of photographs.

This particular photograph is of the old Brunei Airport. If you don't know where that is, I suggest you walk over to the Government Printing Department at Old Airport Road (where else?). The Government Printing Department now used this old terminal building as its headquarters. It's kinda cool. I remembered in the 1960s when my father was the Director there, his office was at that round old control tower. It was interesting to have a circular office with glasses all the way around.

If you can find your bearing and you can see where that building is now, you would know that the road passing through Ministry of Education, PWD and SPA Buildings on one side and Bomba building and the Government Printing Department buildings, you would be standing on the former runaway. 40 years ago, planes would be zooming up and down the runaway instead of cars.

That is why, my dear very young readers, the government complex at Berakas is called the Old Airport. It was literally the old airport.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Brunei's First Letter

This is what the first letter posted from Brunei using Brunei's stamps looked like. This was posted in July 1895 to London. In those days, Brunei was not a member of the Universal Postal Union, so the letter could only be posted to Labuan. Labuan was part of the British Straits Settlement and could post letters anywhere in the world. So if you look at the stamps, there is one Labuan stamp on the envelope. That allowed for the letter to go to London.

This envelope is known as the 'Pead' envelope because it was addressed to Mr. Pead. There were many such envelopes as the person who was given the concession to run Brunei Postal Service by Sultan Hashim, was more interested in getting revenues from sales of stamps outside Brunei. Charles Robertson, obtained the concession by promising to Sultan Hashim that he will provide the postal services for free as long as he can collect all the revenues from sale of stamps outside Brunei. In those days stamps were big businesses. He wanted to cash in on the popularity of obscure stamps and Brunei in 1890s were certainly obscure and if you have been keeping up with Brunei history, on the verge of being swallowed by the expansionist Rajah Brooke.

So a number of these envelopes were sent to London where they were to be sold to collectors. It was because of this, that this first Brunei stamps were designated as bogus by some stamp experts and up to now some catalogues such as Scott's does not show the first Brunei stamps. It was Robson Lowe's Encyclopaedia of British Empire Postage Stamps - The Empire of Asia 1775-1950 that the stamps were acknowledged as official. It was in 1935 when the agreement signed between Sultan Hashim and Charles Robertson was seen dated 20th August 1894.

Whatever it is, these envelopes and these stamps are now very expensive. This particular envelope which closed on ebay two days ago sold for US$330.00 (about B$500).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kuih Keria and Changes

We stopped by at my parents' and my mother in law yesterday and got loaded with lots of food. No matter how old you are, parents still dote on you and make sure you get enough to eat, though in my case, clearly way too much. Anyway, one of the delicacies we got was an old favourite of mine, Kuih Keria.

Kuih Keria is both a Brunei and a Malaysian dish. There was a time when I tried to write the origins of many of the Malay delicacies but eventually I gave up. Nobody remembers and worse, it is not even documented unless I can find really old recipe books. However during sungkai, my wife remarked that today's Kuih Keria does not look the same as what she used to make or rather help her mother make many many years ago. My mother in law was a famous kuih maker in Muara Town and sold many kuihs in the local shops then.

According to her, the Kuih Keria in the 1960s were not the doughnut shaped of today. Kuih Keria used to be a figure 8 - two holes. That was interesting. When did it lose the other bit and became completely round instead of figure 8?

But it is not just Kuih Keria. Kuih Gatas too have changed. It used to be palm sized and not the small size of today.

Apparently wajid used to be made and sold in the open cut and not wrapped in leaves as the wajid of today.

Yesterday, I also saw an interesting change for kuih seri muka. Kuih Seri Muka used to be cut as well. The ones that I saw was apparently made in a thumb size container instead of being cut from a large piece. So each piece was small and cute.

So, keep your eyes open and your ears open to see what else have made the changes when you look at your sungkai later this evening.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Oil and Islam

This is normally how many international journalists wanted to depict Brunei. Oil and Islam. And the easiest way to get it is to use a photograph of the oil donkey with the Seria Mosque in the background. Watch videos or productions about Brunei, inevitably this scene will come out, taken from many different angles. I have watched so many that the show will surprise me if it does not have this scene.

Oneo of the unknown fact about Brunei is that the oldest mosque still currently being used in Brunei is this mosque, the Masjid Seria. It beat the SOAS Mosque by about 4 years. The first Seria Mosque was built in 1938 by the Muslim residents and the Muslim Workers of the then British Malayan Petroleum Company.

That was replaced by the current mosque when it was built in 1953 at a cost of a quarter million dollars. It was completed on 19th September 1954 and His Majesty Sultan Haji Omar Ali came to officially opene the mosque. This mosque was enlarged in 1984. This is what the mosque looked like when it was first built in 1954.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kuala Belait 1970s

One of my hobbies is collecting postcards. The other day I managed to acquire the above postcard. This postcard is a used one. It was sent by someone in Kuala Belait to someone in Gronigen, Holland and was postmarked sometime June 1981 about 28 years ago. Apparently he had just arrived three days in Kuala Belait and would be in Brunei for only about two more days. The card also says he does not know when he will go back to Yugoslavia. Presumably he is a Yugoslav but now that Yugoslavia has more or less disintegrated, he presumably belonged to one of the states.

Anyway, that's the problem with buying old postcards. I only wanted the photograph in front of it but I get to read the content as well. It does make the postcard more interesting knowing a tiny bit about the person who bought it and sent it to someone. Why did he pick this particular card and not another one?

The postcard depicts Kuala Belait in the 1970s. You can tell even by looking at the cars. Though there is not much change. The clock is still there. The HSBC building on the left, is that the old one? And the Shell filling station on the right? The description on the card is not very useful. It says, Kuala Belait. Sebatang jalanraya. A main thoroughfare. I don't know who did this postcard. But even in the 1970s or even now, I don't think this road was ever a main thoroughfare.

Anyway, that's Kuala Belait as depicted in the postcard in the 1970s. For a photograph that goes about 20 years before that, here is one which I borrowed from a fellow blogger who unfortunately does not blog anymore:-

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Management Lessons

Monday's Non Sequitir cartoon had us in stitches yesterday. We have too many that sometimes we just moved from one committee meeting to another committee meeting. Committees solved problems if used rightly. But it is also a place some used for distributing blame and to slow down decisions. Used wrongly as the above cartoon can doom an organisation. Management Lesson number 1 - committees must be used right.

One of my facebook friends posted this yesterday which I thought is also relevant to today's management. Management Lesson number 2:-

One fine day, a bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus, and drove off along the route. No problems for the first few stops - a few people got on, a few got off, and things went generally well.

At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on. Six feet eight, built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, "Big John doesn't pay!" and sat down at the back.

The driver was five feet three, thin, and basically meek. Naturally, he didn't argue with Big John, but he wasn't happy about it. The next day the same thing happened - Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the next.

This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him. Finally he could stand it no longer. He signed up for body building courses, karate, judo, and all that good stuff. By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong; what's more, he felt really good about himself.

So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus and said, "Big John doesn't pay!" The driver stood up, glared back at the passenger, and screamed, "And why not?" With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, "Big John has a bus pass."

Management Lesson number 2: "Be sure there is a problem in the first place before working hard to solve one."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sooka chetha

Lately I have been reading a lot of materials about the origins of the Malays. This is very interesting but unfortunately most of the materials do not cover us here in Brunei except in passing. Though it is interesting to note where was the centre of the Malay centre - some writers argue that it was the west of Borneo (code name for Brunei) and some say it was Malacca and some say it was somewhere in Indonesia. The jury is still out.

One interesting article that I read recently was written by William Marsden entitled 'On the traces of the Hindu Language and Literature Extant amongst the Malays'. The title sounds interesting and modern. Except that it is not modern. This article was published in a book in, believe it or not, published in 1798. More than 211 years ago.

The article is readable, the English of 200 years ago is easier to read. I read Chaucer for my English Literature A Level in the early 1980s, and I remembered how difficult it was to read Chaucer.

The article pointed out that the number of Sanskrit words in the Malay language that the Malays must be an old language itself to adopt the Sanskrit words which is an even older language. The nature of the affinity was strong that their foreign origin was no longer suspected. The writer used examples and interesting old spellings to show examples such as:-


With the exception of Loba and Rata (in English they were translated as Covetous and Chariot, I am not sure what those are without checking the dictionary), all the other words are familiar. This article is indeed interesting as to the origin of the Malay language.

In case you are wondering, the modern spellings are:-

Sooka = Suka
Sookachetha = Sukacita
Dooka = Duka
Bagee = Bagi
Bangsa = Bangsa
Basa = Bahasa
Bechara = Bicara
Beejee = Biji
Boodee = Budi
Loba = ?
Jaga = Jaga
Pootree = Putri
Rata = ? (Roda?)
Pernama = Purnama
Charee = Cari

Monday, August 24, 2009

40 years of Bandar Seri Begawan

I posted this earlier. This is Bandar Seri Begawan or Brunei Town from the air around end of 1960s and early 1970s.

40 years later. This is Bandar Seri Begawan as it is today. Many more buildings in the background.

This photograph is courtesy of my adventurer friend. Thank you Tuan Sheikh.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Brunei $25 1992

Every now and then, I come across this $25 paper money. Recently my sister managed to get a few pieces for me. I had a few but my stocks dwindled down when I left MOF one and a half year ago. It is legal tender. However whenever this note turned up, many recipients would keep it as a souvenir. So it is disappearing. A few Hari Raya ago, I used the notes to give to some of my close family. It's just nice. Not too low like $10 or too high like $50. $25 is just nice. I wish the Currency Board would bring back this $25 note into circulation.

This $25 note was issued to commemorate His Majesty's 25th Anniversary of ascending the throne in 1992. His Majesty ascended the throne in 1967 when his father, Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddin Saadul Khairi Waddien abdicated the throne.

On the front of the note, you can see the royal chariot which was used by His Majesty during his coronation as the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in 1968. The chariot is the master show at the Royal Regalia Museum in Bandar. At the back of the note, you can see His Majesty being crowned by his father.

This $25 note is worth around US$30 for uncirculated notes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Selamat Berpuasa

Selamat Berpuasa kepada Semua Pembaca Daily BR!

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Moon Sighting 2009

Last year I was at the Bukit Shahbandar Moon Sighting Tower. This year I could not make it but I was also warned in advance that the chances of sighting the hilal was, not to put a finer word, next to impossible. The moonset occurs before the sunset. So the new moon was below the horizon at the time of the sighting.

According to which produced the chart above, there were only a few places in the world where the new moon can be sighted, so if there is anyone out there who saw the new moon, it would indeed be a special gift for them. Anyway, I wish everyone to have a Happy Ramadhan starting tomorrow. Don't forget the Terawih Prayers start tonight.


I saw this on ebay and put up a price for this. Unfortunately I did not put up a price too high and the bidder who waited till last minute bought this for $31. Since I can't own the actual physical photograph, I am borrowing the image so that Bruneians out there can see what Brunei looked like in the late 1960s / 1970s.

How do I know it is the late 1960s? The clues are the the Dewan Bahasa Building and the Bahtera near the mosque. The Bahtera was completed in 1967 and the Dewan Bahasa around 1968. The Old Police Station was still in front of the mosque and that was demolished around 1982. This photo can only be taken between 1968 to 1982. Other clues would be to look closely at some of the government buildings such as the Secretariat etc. That would pinpoint the photograph's date further.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Houses for the Needy

Yesterday together with my colleague, the PS at PMO, we visited the sites and progress of 19 houses that are currently under construction under the Fakir/Daif Housing Assistance Scheme financed by the Brunei Islamic Council and built by PWD. My colleague visited 9 houses in Brunei/Muara and Temburong Districts. I covered 10 houses in Tutong and Belait Districts. Altogether there are 38 houses under construction currently.

The houses are more or less of similar design. However they are being built in all over the places. The ones I visited were in Penanjong, Sungai Kelugus, Sungai Mungkom, Telisai, Keramut, Tumpuan Ugas, Danau and Mumong. Most of these houses will be ready for the recipients to move in before Hari Raya but a number unfortunately will only be ready after that.

Yesterday was also the first time I have actually met the recipients face to face. The secretariat obviously knows them as they were ones who interviewed the recipients sometime last year. Some of the would be recipients were very emotional and extremely grateful that these houses were built for them.

One was an old woman who had been asked or rather told to leave her late husband's house by her step children. She is still staying with them hoping that her own house will be ready soon. But that house too was dilapidated and she said she had to use lots of basins as the roof leaks badly during rainy season. Hopefully she does not have to do anymore soon.

Another was a family who had been staying in the same old wooden house for the last 25 years. They had no electricity and uses gas lantern and a small power generator donated by someone in the past. The mother was talking enthusiastically about her youngest children who needed a computer but even if one is given to her, she could not run it without electricity.

All of the recipients either lived in dilapidated houses (their old houses will also be demolished once their new one is ready) or had no house before. One family had 17 children and another 13 children, I am not even sure how we are going to fit them in the houses we are building for them. Another was an unemployed divorcee with 5 children, only one employed as a labourer very recently. One old recipient lived in a PWD barrack all his life and even when he retired a few years ago, he was still living there. He could not qualify for the national housing scheme as he had a piece of land.

The saddest one was the second last we visited. An old couple with one child lived in a termite infested house. The wife was an invalid and the husband carries her on his back whenever she needed to go somewhere. Their son managed to get a labourer's job recently. But two weeks ago, the wife passed away. Too late to see her new house.

There are many more cases to investigate (500+ at last count) and more houses to be built. The Islamic Council has currently made more than $35 million available, I know everyone will do their utmost to help build these houses. If there is anyone you know who should be included in the program, do write to the Permanent Secretary at the PMO with their address and also their backgrounds. Otherwise, email me and I will get the secretariat to do the groundwork.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Makkah Tower

TradeArabia News Service in Manama, Bahrain reported the following news yesterday:


Al Salam, Brunei Bank JV to manage Makkah tower
Manama: Tue, 18 Aug 2009

Nabeel Ebrahim Al Tattan

Bahrain-based Al Salam Bank, a leading Shari’ah compliant institution and Perbadanan Tabung Amanah Islam Brunei (TAIB), a leading Islamic financial institution, have entered into a strategic partnership on Burj Al Safwa Tower in Makkah.

Al Salam agreed to sell 50 per cent of its 18 years leasehold interest to TAIB through a 50:50 joint venture. The JV will soon appoint a leading hotel operator to manage the Tower as a five-star hotel.

"We at Al Salam Bank-Bahrain are honored to establish a strategic partnership with TAIB and for TAIB’s trust in our bank,” said Nabeel Ebrahim Al Tattan, executive vice president and head of Mena.

“We are confident that our partnership will add value to both organisations’ stakeholders,” he added.

“Al Salam acquired the leasehold interest in Burj Al Safwa in summer 2008 when construction work on the tower was still in progress,” Al Tattan continued. “Al Salam has now taken possession of the tower and jointly with TAIB will soon announce the appointment of our five-star hotel operator.”

CIMB Islamic Investment House Bahrain acted as transaction advisor to the strategic partnership in Burj Al Safwa.

Burj Al Safwa, an Islamic architectural masterpiece, is a residential and commercial tower strategically located meters away from King Abdul-Aziz Gate, the closest point to the Holy Kaabah in Makkah.

The tower comprises of 23 floors structured according to international standards to provide utmost luxury to its guests. It includes 336 residential units, a huge reception hall, along with a floor dedicated as prayer area, which is linked audio-visually to the Holy Mosque.

Another two floors have been allocated for parking which themselves are connected to the Suq’s tunnel and to the other main streets around the Holy Mosque.

The tower also includes a commercial centre and restaurant hall. A total of 12 lifts have been installed in the tower to ease movement in and out of the tower. – TradeArabia News Service

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Houses, Houses and More Houses

It was a late night again last night. The night before was MOD 5 MCYS 0. Last night was making sure the seating arrangements and all other arrangements are okay for today's ceremony. Just in case there is any last minute thing.

This morning, His Majesty will be handing 70 lucky land owners with their own land titles and 38 people the plaque to their own houses at the Parit Community hall. The 70 land title recipients are those whose land holding original held under the temporary occupation of land, had build houses on it, had lived on it for at least 5 years and has no other land. The 38 people are the remained of Phase 1 of the housing for indigenous scheme at Lumapas.

Usually His Majesty will also visit other places while on the way to visit the houses. Today will be the Ideal Multifeed Farm, the Bayu Ilham Company both at Jalan Bengkurong as well as the Sengkurong Post Office and new Sengkurong library.

For those wondering when the houses are going to be ready, some statistics of the very near future - 303 houses at Rimba will be balloted by the fasting month so that recipients can move in before Hari Raya, 127 houses at Lumapas around October and 177 houses at Sungai Liang around the beginning of the new year. After that there will be around 400 houses at Meragang sometime next year. The target for the current RKN is still 10,000 houses to be built by the Housing Development Department and the Public Works Department.

Under the poor and the needy program financed by the Brunei Islamic Council, 38 houses in all the four districts are currently under varying stages of completion. Together with my colleague from PMO, we will be visiting those houses on Wednesday to make sure there will be available for the recipients very soon. For this year, there will be another 20+ such houses that will be built. The Islamic Council has made more than $30 million available for the project. About 500 applications have been received for Phase II of the project.

Monday, August 17, 2009


We need goals alright. The Minister and I were at the Track and Field Stadium last night watching our MOD team beat the MCYS team at the inter-ministry football final. The scoreline was a very flattering 5-0 in our favour!

The MOD team played well as a team and we were especially proud of a number of players who were unselfish and worked hard as individuals winning balls and not giving up. Not to mention a number of them took part that morning in the gruelling 40 km bicycle expedition organised by our ministry in commemoration of HM's 63rd Birthday. Well done everyone!

The MCYS team had skills, that much we can see. However luck was not on their side in the first half when MOD scored two goals. They worked hard and even hit the post and the bar. Had those two gone in, we would have a much harder game. But as it is in football, it was the MOD team that scored three more in the second half. Bad luck but the scoreline was certainly flattering to MOD. The game was not a one sided affair despite the lopsided scoreline.

I haven't been to a football match and watched the entire match for a long time. It was certainly good to go to a game where your team won.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Brunei's Water Supply

The Minister and us went round again yesterday to see the water supplies as part of our regular inspection. Because of the shift in wind directions, we have been quite lucky to receive the rains instead of the rain dropping out at sea. We have been lucky too that with the winds blowing the other directions, we don't get the smog from the end of the Borneo Island. However once the winds shitt directons to us from the south, my worry is that the haze will come back with a vengance.

Has the water supply improved with the rains?

Not really. This is a photograph of the Mengkubau Dam. Mengkubau supply the areas immediately surrounding it as far as Muara. The brown stain in that water intake tower is the amount of water that has been taken away from Mengkubau and has not been replaced by any rain.

We also visited the Tutong Barrrage. The barrage is a barrier in the middle of the river so that the fresh water flowing from the hills out to the seas are trapped behind the barrage. So the water immediately behind the barrage became a dam so that the intake pumps can draw from this pool of water. While the areas in front of the barrage became more saline because the water from the sea will eventually mix with the frsesh water.

In the photograph, you can see the higher water level on the left because the water has been mixed with waters released from Benutan Dam. The lower water on the right is due to lower sea tide. The higher fresh water intake allows us to have uninterrupted water supply in Brunei and Tutong districts which is taken and processed at Layong, Bukit Barun and Kuala Abang. It is currently the Benutan Dam which is functioning as the huge reserve. But if we keep drawing down, eventually Benutan Dam will be empty.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Which is correct? Brunei or Berunai?

Someone asked on the comment box which I copied Nazri: kn betanya, kenapa nama ejaan Brunei B.R.U.N.E.I? Sedangkan sebutannya BRUNAI? nda pernah ku tejumpa mana-mana ejaan yang berakhir dengan E.I disebut "ai".

Nazri brought up an interesting point. When did 'Brunei' became Brunei?

I will ignore the old Chinese reports which used various names such as Poli and Poni and concentrates on the word closer in sound to Brunei. Though the final word that the Chinese used was 'Boni' which in fact until today is still being used as the signage at Sultan Majid Hassan's tomb in China. This is the cover of my second book currently on sale which shows the sign of King of Boni:-

Going back further in time, most of the Dutch and Spanish documents spelt Brunei as 'Borney' or 'Borneo'. One letter from the Sultan of Brunei to Governor Tello in Manila reported the use of 'Burney'.

Most European old maps dating to the 17th and 18th century would refer to Brunei as Borneo Proper while the island is also called Borneo. One Portuguese report in 1610 used the word 'Borneu' and another in 1524 wrote of 'Burneo'. In another book written by Masimilian of Transyvania wrote of the the 'island of Porne'. Pigafetta, travelling with Magelan used 'Burney' but also Burne. A book published in Venetia in 1550 spelt Bornei.

However the use of Brunei became more apparent in the later 19th and early 20th centyury, In practically all the agreements that we signed in the 19th century, Brunei was written in Jawi and only when we anglicised it, it became Brunei.

I have an old book written by someone called Treacher. It was printed in 1891 and the title of the book was Sketches of Brunai, Labuan, Sarawak and North Borneo. He was a former governor of Labuan and obviously knew Brunei very well. His spelling of Brunai was probably 'accurate' compared to Brunei which we used today.

Another book which I owned is written by Frank Maryatt who in his book entitled Borneo and the Indian Archipelago published in 1848 spelt Brunei as Bruni.

By 1904 when McArthur came to Brunei, he used Brunei throughout his report. It is most likely that it was the British that finalised the word Brunei as Brunei of today.

Peter Blundell writing in his book 'A City of Many Waters' published in 1923 but writing about Brunei at the end of the 19th century wrote about 'Brunei'.

Though interestingly enough, there were books published in the 1950s and 1960s which tried to spell Brunei as it is sounded. One in particular was written by Yura Halim and Jamil Umar published in 1958 entitled 'Sejarah Berunai' which spelt Brunei as Berunai. In fact, in the book there is a foreword by Sultan Haji Omar Ali who used the word Berunai throughout the foreword and signed it with Sultan of Berunai.

Again interestingly enough Yura Halim in an earlier book written in 1951 spelt Brunei as Brunei and Sultan Omar Ali who also wrote the foreword wrote as Sultan Brunei. But by the 1960s, Brunei was well on its way to being established as 'Brunei'.

PS. I have decided to do a proper research and expand this entry into a proper article. I have submitted it to my editors and this will be published hopefully tomorrow in the Brunei Times Sunday edition.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Brunei-Philippines Rice Cooperation

You don't often find our beloved Sultan's image or even Brunei's images on other countries' stamps. The ones that I have come across so far are 4 - the image of our Sultan on a Korean stamp to commemorate Brunei-Korea relationship, the image of the dome of SOAS Mosque on a Japanese stamp to commemorate the ASEAN-Japan relationship, the image of the State Secretariat building on the other 9 ASEAN countries' stamps to commemorate 40th anniversary of ASEAN and the image of the Brunei flag on a UN stamp.

This Philippines stamp is the latest of all the world's stamps which has an image of His Majesty. This 7 peso stamp is a special issue to mark the agricultural cooperation forged between the Philippines and Brunei. Featured are portraits of Philippine President Macapagal Arroyo and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. The issue is offered as a block of 4. Get it while you can. It will cost more than the 7 peso in the future.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Haze according to Cuboiart

Every now and then when I read the Borneo Bulletin, I would be smiling and there are times when I would be chuckling and if it is really hillarious, laughing out loud. If I do that, that would mean that I have come across cartoons written or rather drawn or created by Cuboiart, Brunei's finest satirical cartoonist.

These two cartoons are about the haze that we are facing at the moment especially open burning. Sometimes people don't seem to care that we have dry weather. Our neighbours did it the other day. The small woods behind his house caught fire after his burning of his rubbish at the back of his house went haywire. Luckily the fire was controllable, otherwise I would hate to think what would have happened.

Despite the rain, water levels have continued to come down at the Tutong River. The Water people had to release some water from the Benutan Dam to raise the water level at Tutong River. The rains have all fallen down the coasts and not much has landed where it is needed the most - at the catchment areas. So, I still urge people to save water despite the seemingly wet spell we have at the moment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I was at the opening ceremony of BRIDEX's conference yesterday and listened to General Ul Haqq of Pakistan giving the keynote address. I have not been to BRIDEX before and neither have I been to the new exhibition centre. My comments? I was very impressed with the organisation of the conference and the exhibition halls and no doubt this will be a much better site to hold exhibitions and other what nots in the future.

Jane's which as many of readers know, is one of the most respected sources of information and analysis on theglobal defence industry, has been appointed to co-organise yesterday's conference and workshops. Jane's will also publish the Show Daily magazines.

This morning His Majesty will officially open BRIDEX 2009.

What is BRIDEX 2009?

Just in case you are still wondering, BRIDEX stands for the Brunei International Defence Exhibition. BRIDEX is the premier defence & security event in South East Asia. BRIDEX 2009 taking place from 12 to 15 August 2009 is held at the brand new purpose-built exhibition centre located within a natural terrain setting on a prime ocean-facing site in Jerudong.

The promo leaflet states that, built on a 26 acre site in the Royal Brunei Polo & Riding Club, just five minutes away from the Empire Hotel & Country Club, exhibitors and visitors benefit from 10,000 square metres of modern air-conditioned exhibition halls; 5,000 square metres adjoining apron space for static displays; a mobility park and marina for live demonstrations of equipment and systems; chalets, restaurant and hospitality facilities.

The design of the venue ensures that exhibitors have easy access during the build and breakdown. The column-free exhibition hall has 3m/9.84ft clear headroom throughout and the exhibition floor has been designed to support heavy military vehicles.

Where is it exactly?

Go to Jerudong Park and head towards the JPMC but instead of turning left at the first security check to go to JPMC, go straight and you will in no time see the BRIDEX exhibition halls. You can't miss it. It's the building with the dome in the middle. There is a conference hall in a separate building. This is the one where the conference was held yesterday.

I am not sure whether cars are allowed in. What you can do is actually park at one of the carparks around the Jerudong Park playground and food eateries and take a shuttle ride from there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Issues in The Golden Warisan Volume 2

Today I thought I will spend a bit of time answering Tun Teja who raised these issues with my new book, The Golden Warisan Volume 2 (which is available for sale now):-

Q1. loving ur new book mr BR. i have some qs though, how come sultan muhammad ali in ur makam d luba article ada haji to his name but in ur civil war artcle, nada.. im curious raja dulu2 ada naik haji? n how? ..i tot raja yg baru2 sja yg naik haji starting smja II or sultan ahmad tajuddin, no?

Answer: I have not been very consistent with the usage of haji etc and remember these are articles which are written weekly and sometimes inconsistencies like this arise. Naik haji is not an issue as ordinary people naik haji either through overland route or through trading vessels. Obviously it takes longer (in the early 1900s, my late father in law took 6 months to go and come back from haj). Remember Islam reached Brunei from both routes by the 14th centuries. Sultan Muhammad Ali was reigning around 300 years later.

Q2. n abt awg semaun,d grandad sang aji was childless..but ipai samiring married his daughter??

Answer: The paragraph you mentioned should have added an extra sentence that says even though he was childless but eventually he had a daughter which Ipai later married. Again remember these are legends and we will never know the truth of these legends.

Q3. n how come sultan kamaludin jauh gravenya?away frm kota batu area?

Answer: Bruneians live along the river and palaces shifted. In fact, the Sultans' graves can be found from Kota Batu and at Temasek. Luba is only a few miles away from Temasek.

Q4. ive also heard of a grave found n knw as raja junjungan near a river kwsan kan mnuju k limbang at junjungan x.. whos that raja? how come nda grand gravenya eh? no grand tombstone or tambak.. even grave sultan hasan pun nda grand.

Answer: Waris Kayan kindly answered that for me. It is someone called Raja Alwi. Most likely he was a Chieftain rather than a Sultan. I already wrote an article about that which was publishd in BT about two months back. This will be published in Volume 3 by the end of the year.

Q5. btw mr BR, ive seen pic of 'istana' sultan ahmad tajuddin in a ubd produced book, something abt kg ayer; that lookd lyk an ordinary double storey house, msh ada ard ka d house?

Answer: I am not sure about this without seeing the photograph. But an Istana is somewhere where the Royal Family stays. Even the small temporary wooden house which Sultan Ahmad stayed in Tantaya during the Second World War was called Istana but it was far from being grand.

Hope that helps.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Sunday

I have a confession to make. I did not go to a single wedding invitation yesterday. My apologies to the 5 families who invited us. My son wanted to go visit the museum and I thought why not. We have not gone out for a while and when my son expressed interest in museums, I am not one to disappoint. I try to visit Brunei's museums every so often even if there is nothing new to see. I always managed to find something interesting. But that's me.

We went to the Royal Regalia Museum. I haven't been to this one for a good two or three years. When we got there, it has not changed at all. The same no camera, no shoes etc. Sorry, one thing has changed, it has lockers for keeping your bags (and cameras) in. I have often been irked by this no camera rule in museums. I know the reasons behind it. First, the possibility of the photographs being exploited commercially and second, flashes (very bright light) can destroy what the museums are trying to preserve. But anyway, the Royal Regalia museum staffs do not seem to mind the many tourists flashing away.

If you have been to the Royal Regalia museum, there is nothing new to tell you. I still find both usungan, used by His Majesty the Sultan very grand and wonder how the soldiers managed to push them through the city centre. I remembered the 1992 Silver Jubilee celebrations as my wife and I were somewhere near Jalan Roberts being spectators.

There are many more photographs now being hung along the walls which I noticed. I especially wanted to visit the Constitutional History section but when I got, that section was closed. I remembered the two staff who had walked past us when we got there. Now, I don't remember any sign that says that certain parts of the museum was closed. That's the one section I really wanted to see. It has all the documents about our recent constitutional development etc. That was a major disappointment.

I thought we were done but my son said we should also visit the old museum at Kota Batu to visit the whale. I mentioned about the whale skeletons in the car and now he wanted to vist the whales. The whales are part of the new natural history exhibits at the museum in Kota Batu.

So we went there. I realised that the total number of visitors were outnumbered by the museum staffs and gurkha guards. Anyway, the new natural history section had been revamped and the new exhibits including skeletons from whales, dolphins and porpoises - all animals which had died on our shores. This section is a worthwhile visit.

The other sections in the museums had remained unchanged since it was opened, I think. The Brunei history section and the cultural history section (complete with its ancient Brunei food) definitely were there from day one. The shipwreck section was relatively new but by now it had looked as if it was there from day one too. The oil and gas section was fortunately closed and undergoing renovation. So that's something new. The Islamic exhibits as usual is a worthwhile visit.

I found something new as usual but I wished there were updates. Many things had been found since the Museum opened but the exhibits have remained unchanged.

We had lunch at Tarindak d'Seni which is the new restaurant at the Brunei Arts and Handicrafts Centre. We couldn't get a seat at the restaurant. So full. We sat in the cafe instead and had ala carte menu instead of a buffet. The food was good and I recommend everyone to go there. The buffet cost $15 per person for lunch which I was told is good value. I can't comment. I couldn't get in. Anyway, my family enjoyed the museums and the restaurant and I am happy.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Brunei Time Line

[Note: My article below was published in Brunei Times about a month ago and was actually based on my blog entry about 2 years ago.]

[This sketch of Kampong Ayer was published in the Illustrated London News on 27 June 1857.]

Prior to the 1960s, Bruneians have their own concept of time. A number of our elderly Bruneians, when you asked them do not know exactly when they were born. Sometime some do not even have birth certificates to prove that they were born in whatever years. Even though it was in the 1920s that births in Brunei first started to be registered, it was after the Second World War that many births were officially registered and birth certificates were issued. But there are still a number who do not have birth certificates to prove what year they were born.

Some of our elderly folks then were not literate in the ways of the British to register their children. There are many cases in the civil service where the elderly siblings are still working but the younger ones have reached retirement age. This is because the elderly ones can claim any year that he was born but the younger ones have birth certificates which show the exact year when he was born.

In many cases, to determine how old a person really is, one can ask them how big or how old were they when a certain event took place. It seemed that there were several major events in Brunei between the 1900s to 1950s.

‘Beras bau tahi’ (cooked rice smelling like feces): this event took place around early 1900s - there was an episode when the rice that was available in the country was of such low quality that it smelled very badly. Some say that at that time, the rice was imported and by the time it reached Brunei, the rice had turned bad and when cooked, it smelt so bad. The smell was probably that of sulphur. It is not known whether the rice consumption dropped during that time.

‘Perang Jerman’ or German War – this is actually the First World War which took place around 1914. The Bruneians called this war Perang Jerman or German War so as to distinguish it from the Second World War which is known as Perang Jepun or Japanese War. The War did not affect Brunei much and even though technically it was a World War but it was mainly between the Germans and the rest of the world.

Though according to the Brunei Annual Reports of the years during the War, there were some indirect effects. The most affected was the importation of rice. Due to the war, ships were not easily available to deliver rice and other products. There was a rice shortage and in 1914 this was coupled with a bad drought. Locally grown rice in the country was affected by the drought and could not overcome the short supply of rice.

Even though it was not involved in the war, Brunei was firmly on the side of the Allies. The Brunei Annual Reports of 1916 and 1918 reported that His Highness the Sultan ‘has frequently expressed his loyalty to His Majesty the King, and prayers are offered in the mosques for the success of the British army’. When the armistice was announced on 14 November 1918, His Highness the Sultan ‘gave orders that prayers of thanksgiving should be said in the mosque: these continued all night, His Highness attending’.

‘Rahmat’ or ‘Blessed’. This episode took place around 1920s and during this period, a cholera epidemic broke out in Brunei. A number of Bruneians died during this time. However the Bruneians stoically carried on. They did not blame anyone but just called the deaths of their loved ones as being ‘blessed’ and hence the period was called ‘Rahmat’.

‘Tamoi Angus’ or Tamoi Village burnt – this episode was around the mid 1920s. There was a huge fire at Kampong Tamoi, one of the villages at Kampong Ayer. Technically, this fire when it broke out was not as big as the fire which had inundated the villages at Kampong Ayer in recent times. But when it happened, the fire at Kampong Tamoi was considered then as the largest those people alive they have ever seen and this became an event marker.

‘Perang Jepun’ or Japanese War. This is to distinguish between the First and Second World War. This episode took place in the 1940s.

Even though the war was fought by the Allied Forces against the Axis (Germany, Italy and Japan), however it was the Japanese that invaded Brunei and occupied Brunei from 1942 to 1945. Even though in the beginning, the Japanese presence was tolerated but towards the end of war, the benevolent attitude of the Japanese Army in Brunei changed. So much so, the Sultan and his family had to flee to Tantaya, a village near Limbang.

‘Orang Australia datang’ or literally the Australian people came. This episode took place during the end of the Second World War when the Australian Army arrived as part of the Allied Forces driving out the Japanese who were occupying Brunei at that time.

The Allied Forces which came were mostly made up of soldiers from Australia and it was the Australian Army which landed in Muara and eventually recaptured Brunei Town from the Japanese. However with the Australian Army were also some British army officers and they formed the core of the British Military Administration until 1946. The BMA ran the government until the British Resident returned back to Brunei. Many elderly Bruneians remembered the Australian soldiers.

‘Marhum Puspa’ or the Coronation of Al-Marhum. Al-Marhum refered to the late father of His Majesty the Sultan. This event took place in 1951 when His Royal Highness Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien was coronated as the 28th Sultan of Brunei Darussalam.

His Royal Highness ascended the throne on 4 June 1950 when his elder brother Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin suddenly died, leaving no male heir to succeed him. His Royal Highness who was also the Duli Pengiran Bendahara was proclaimed the 28th Sultan on 6 June 1950.

However, the coronation took place at Lapau DiRaja (The Royal Ceremonial Hall) on 31 May 1951. It was during this ceremony that Al-Marhum was awarded the British medal, the Champion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG). It was not until he visited London in 1953 to attend the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of England that his CMG was upgraded to Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) which gave him the title ‘Sir’.

Additionally one can also add the following timelines in Brunei history:-

‘Masa Pemberuntakan’ or Rebellion Time (1962) – this referred to the rebellion which took place on 8 December 1962 when a rebellion broke out trying to overthrow the government. The word ‘pemberuntakan’ referred to the word ‘memberontak’ which is the Malay word for ‘rebellion’.

In the latter 1960s, we have the abdication of His Royal Highness Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien which took place in 1967. We have the Coronation of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah which took place on 1 August 1968. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Brunei which took place in 1970 was also a significant time stone.

In the 1970s, the main event we have events such as the renaming of Bandar Brunei or Pekan Brunei or Brunei Town which took place in October 1970. And of course the famous date in 1980s was the declaration of the Brunei Independence on the eve of 1 January 1984.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Water is precious

The haze did it. We have been having El Nino for a couple of months now. Not many of us in Brunei realised it because we have been blessed with rains occasionally falling on us. But over the past few days, the haze has been getting visible or rather has made things not so visible that we now realised, aha, we have dry weather.

We visited all the water dams yesterday to see for ourselves for their conditions and water levels. Brunei has three dams. One is the Mengkubau Dam in Mentiri, the Tasek Dam in Bandar and the Benutan Dam in Tutong. Currently under construction is the Kagu Dam in Labi. We still have two more dams in the pipelines, one in Ulu Tutong and the other in Ulu Belait. There is in fact a fourth dam which is in operation which is in Imang. However this one is used for water supply for agriculture in Wasan and the surrounding areas.

All the dams' water level despite the lack of rain recently were okay. The Mengkubau Dam showed the most decline of about 0.8 meter but the water people estimated that Mengkubau can last for another 5 to 6 months even if not a single drop of rain was to fall on its catchment. The Tasek Dam is kept more as a backup. The Benutan Dam is currently Brunei's biggest dam. The Benutan Dam does not currently supply water but what it does is that if the Tutong River was to dry up or the saline water starts coming in, water will be released from Benutan Dam. The majority of our water in Brunei/Muara and Tutong, other than some supplies from Mengkubau and Tasek are derived from the Tutong River. For Belait, the supply is from Belait River at Badas and for Temburong from the Temburong River.

[That brown stain shows how much the water level has dropped in Mengkubau Dam]

Benutan is the main supply lifeline should something happen to Tutong River. In the meantime, barrages have also been built in Tutong River. With the barrage in place, saline water can be kept out, so Tutong River can trap all the fresh water. That means we need the water from Benutan Dam even less. The last time we relied heavily on Benutan was during the El Nino in 1999. Even then we only rely on about 3 out of the 9 months of drought.

[Tutong Barrage]

However, this does not mean that we can waste our water. We may have ample and secure supplies, but with our growing population and increasing needs, there is growing cost for any additional drop that everyone waste. We are already destroying thousands of acres with our existing dams and many thousand acres of forests to come to ensure water supplies for our future generations. We must save water.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Laila Rice Cookbook

When I attended the Padi Laila harvesting ceremony the other day, every guest was given a souvenir bag. Inside the bag, among other things, were an apron with the Padi Laila stitched to it and a recipe book entitled "Hidangan Beras Laila - Dishes from Beras Laila".

The book contains recipes and I have to admit, beautiful photographs for 30 of Brunei's delicacies:-

Nasi Ayam Laila Bersambal
Nasi Briyani Laila
Nasi Kebuli Ayam Laila
Nasi Hujan Panas Laila
Nasi Goreng Belutak
Nasi Goreng 5 Ulam
Bubur Laila Misteri
Nasi Gulung Laila
Sotong Sumbat Laila Berempah
Bingka Dadak
Bebola Nasi Laila
Lapis Talam Laila
Katu Mayang
Nasi Kuning Laila
Pulut Bakar
Si Bujang
Seri Muka

Most of these dishes were selling like hot cakes during the ceremony. I bought some and they taste the same as whatever rice they used before Laila. I bought the rice too and had it the other day, to me it looked and tasted more like the special 'beras kabun' that you buy from the Tamu.

According to Agriculture Department, Beras Laila contains micro-nutrients, carbohydrates, low fibre and higher levels of protein compared to Hom Mali (Thai) rice. It is also of similar quality to other locally-produced rice such as 'Beras Pusu' and 'Beras Adan,' in terms of energy, fat, carbohydrate and fibre content. Meanwhile, the protein content in Beras Laila is higher compared to other locally-produced rice.

Anyway, the book is available from Agriculture Department and hopefully they have by now been able to deliver this book to the bookshops and sell it there. It cost $6. If you are searching for this book in the bookshops and happen to come across my new book, The Golden Warisan Volume 2, you know what to do. Buy both books!

Are the recipes easy? Some are. Some you need to know how to wrap them. Some you would need special moulds which unfortunately are not shown in the books. But then most people I realised buy cookbooks not to try out the food but to have a look at the food. So buy the book and hope that it will come hand one day, if ever.


PS. FREE BOOKS. This is the last time I am stating this. I am giving away 50 copies of my new book The Golden Warisan Volume 2 (so far I have given away 4 books) to history students. All I ask is that you send me an email stating your name, your form, your school and your school history teacher and if okay I will email you back for you to come and collect your book. I won't be doing any more reminders on this blog, so there. Earlier I placed a limit of one book each and no more than two students per school, but I am willing to accept more than two students per school seeing that there don't seem to be much interest. Last Offer.

The book is also available, not for free, at Best Eastern, Bismi and Book Lane bookshops throughout the country for $15 each. For that you get 52 articles in 334 pages and tons of black and white photographs of old historical Brunei and scenes that you will never ever see anymore in Brunei.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Brunei Memories

Yesterday, the printers called and told me to collect the second batch of books and everything else will be in the remaining third batch. So today, I will be spending my after office hours getting 500 copies of my book entitled "The Golden Warisan Volume 2" into the bookshops. I have to send the books to the bookshops' store rooms. Since my first book, nowadays I know where Best Eastern and Bismi hide their stocks. So hopefully by Thursday or latest Friday, "The Golden Warisan Volume 2" will be available at all the Best Eastern and Bismi bookshops throughout the country.

I was reading the news about my colleague, the PS at PMO launching Malai Yunos cartoon book and I was wondering whether I should do a proper launch. But my first book was never launched properly and it sold itself out and I had to do a reprint, so I guess the second one should do okay, hopefully. Anyway, each book retails for $15 and you get 52 articles for that price.


However, today I want to talk about another book which I discovered and purchased recently for the cost of 10 of my books. The book is not that old (published in 1988) but unfortunately no longer available and that is why I had to pay an arm and a leg for it.

Why is this book useful? In the 19th century, the British were spending a lot of their time in Brunei including interfering in Brunei's affairs - Limbang, Labuan etc. The British back home in England always wanted to know about happenings on this side of the world. They had their share holdings in the the ships traveling and trading here etc.

The news that the readers wanted came out on Illustrated London News. The newspaper printed many stories about Brunei, Sarawak and Sabah throughout the 19th century and the early 20th century. The news were accompanied by sketches (photography was in its infancy and films were invented by Kodak Eastman in 1895) and a great many of Brunei's old scenes were actually first printed and shown on this newspaper.

The book is a compilation of all the stories and sketches and old photographs from the Illustrated London News throughout the 19th Century. There are many sketches about Brunei and I would love to bring those sketches to this blog in the future.

In the meantime you can enjoy the cover of the book. The cover is a scene of the British ships Vixen, Pluto and Nemesis at anchor in Brunei harbour in August 1845. The photograph was courtesy of Brigadier Cree and the trustees of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Harvesting Laila

Information Department's photograph of His Majesty harvesting Laila padi yesterday.

This is a very nice photograph from the Brunei Times of His Majesty harvesting Laila padi yesterday with a very delighted Minister of Industry and Primary Resources.

A picture is worth a thousand word. Two pictures, much more.

I was speaking to a former army commander who now runs a 30 acre padi plantation in Labi about the rice yesterday while waiting for His Majesty to arrive. I asked him about the Laila padi as well as his thoughts about being in the rice industry. He has been planting it for the last few years and he is satisfied with it. You can get around 3 to 5 tons per hectare and the government pays each farmer around $1.60 per kilo of rice. He only has 2 workers to cover his 30 acres but heavily mechanised. With all the modern equipment plus govenment subsidies, it can make a good income to be in the padi business. Food security is a price we have to pay for.

Yesterday too saw the launch of a recipe book for the Laila rice. It was on sale for $6 yesterday. The rice and other products made from Laila was also available for sale yesterday. The souvenir for the occasion was interesting yesterday. It was an apron! But whatever it is, the Laila rice is here to stay and we are on our way towards self-sufficiency.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Brunei Halal

Everyone was queuing to get a nice reusable bag with this Brunei Halal logo yesterday including my better half and me. At first we did not want to queue but the entire ICC was full with people with green bag with this logo, we did it too. The most important thing is that the Brunei Halal logo is up and running. I really hope that our local food producers can use this logo branding and exploit it to sell their products. There are many challenges faced by our local manufacturers, for example high costs of the supply chain. In addition there is also relatively high labour costs as well as high imported costs of raw materials. I know my colleague at MIPR is working his * off in getting the assistance required. We should all work together to help them too.

Anyway, I thought the crowd was as equally enthusiastic as previous crowds. The food products interesting but there were one or two surprises. If I was a judge, the one that wins the most interesting claims is a drink product made from a flower, Rosella or hibicus. It tasted nice but boy oh boy. It claims to be able to do the following:-

See. It can do pretty much help you with anything from high blood pressure to helping you reduce your dependency on narcotics and cigarettes and on top of all those, it can help you 'meningkatkan gairah seks' (!) And best of all it cost only 80 cents a bottle! I tried it. It does taste nice though. Did it work? Hmmmmm.......

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Golden Legacy Vol.2

This is the backcover of the book. Not much different from the first one if you remember. My artistic sister says that since I have named the first book volume 1, I had to follow the same design for volume 2. I am beginning to regret naming the first book volume 1 but I gues it is the contents that matter.

I was hoping that the printers would be able to print all the books but unfortunately no. The advance copies they give me was on Thursday but so far they have not confirmed when the rest would be coming other than sometime next week. So, don't look for the book at the bookshops, it is still not there yet. Meanwhile, I do have advance copies for sale at my office at $15 each.

I am giving away 50 books as I have mentioned yesterday. So far I have received only one email and she definitely will get one.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Golden Warisan Volume 2

For those keeping track of the publication of my book 'The Golden Warisan Brunei Darussalam Volume 2' will be pleased to know that the book will be available from Monday. I have an advance few copies which I will make available for sale to people who has time to drop in to my office starting from this morning. The book is 1/3 thicker than last time and the price is unfortunately too $15 instead of last book's $12. It is thicker and has more information but I do have to pay more for the printing of the book. So I do hope you will bear with me.

What are the contents? This is the compilation of 2008 Golden Legacy articles that I have written for Brunei Times as follows:-

Berjanawari: The River Regatta Festival
Brunei Places Named After Native Words
Family Relationship Monikers in Brunei
Kampong Tanjung Nangka: Legend Trove
Brunei Lore’s Samurai, Genies and Fairies
Rural Tutong, Brunei’s Different Side
The Tobacco Smoking Tradition in Brunei
An Abridged History of Modern Brunei
Enforcers: Brunei’s Police Then and Now
A Brief History of the Legislative Council
A Bruneian’s Castle: National Housing
Town and Country Planning in Brunei
100 Years of Quality Water Supply
A History of Sanitation Services in Brunei
Maulidur Rasul Processions in Brunei
Before Oil: Brunei’s Cutch Revolution
Prosperous Rubber Plantations in Brunei
World, Cosmic Matter? See Survey Department
The day the Armada challenged Brunei
“Bunga telur”: Gifts lavished at weddings
Awang Semaun: Tale of a Brunei Warrior
Information Department shapes Brunei
NDPs spur growth in Brunei’s economy
Brunei under the Japanese occupation
Padang Besar plays key role in Brunei
A curious look at Brunei’s gambling past
Introduction to Brunei Honours system
Centuries old Brunei Weaving Industry
The Kris: The traditional Malay Weapon
The Sultan who thwarted Rajah Brooke
Preserving Brunei’s Traditional Anyaman
Kampong Pancur Murai Tells Its Origin
Civil War Wrecks Chaos in Brunei
Methods used to measure Fasting Month
Loss of Labuan Island, a former Brunei island
Masjid SOAS 50th Anniversary
How Brunei lost its northern province
Celebrating a festive occasion in Brunei
Resting Place for Remains of Pious Sultan
From Bandar Brunei to BSB 38 years ago
History of Brunei Students in Singapore
National Stadium celebrates its 25th year
The Brunei Sultan who died in China
The Reign of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin
Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam
Sultan Abdul Momin Restores Peace
Reign of Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddin II
Sultan Tengah – Sarawak’s First Sultan
Epilogue 1 - My Take
Epilogue 2 - Bandar Seri Begawan: An Ancient Capital, A New City

This book has two extra articles which I wrote much earlier which is My Take, a short article which served as an introductory article to the Golden Legacy column and another short article which I wrote for Muhibah magazine. To make amends for the omission last time, I have also included the bibliography of books which I used as references.

FREE BOOKS. For my previous book, I gave them away to school teachers. This time round, I am giving books away to history students. I am giving away one book to any history student and no more than two students per school. So email me with your full name, your form, your school and the name of your school history teacher. I have 50 books to give away. I won't give my email but if you have been keeping up with this blog, you will know what the email is. I will not accept any other means of communicating your name, and the sequence of receiving emails will be determined by the way it is arranged by yahoo mail. I can't be any more fairer than that.

Inspirational Quotes