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Showing posts from December, 2009

On hiatus

Apologies to regular visitors. My PC has died on me (suspected motherboard problem), so I can't update from home. And I don't have time and I should not update during office hours. Besides all my photos and notes are on that PC, so I don't have much reference material. So, I am going on forced hiatus until I can sort something out. In the meantime keep on checking, maybe by then my PC would have been cured!

Jerudong Park v.2?

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I thought I was an avid newspaper reader and I was quite surprised to have missed this one. Anyway, I found this news on www.earthtimes.org about our Jerudong Park:-


Bandar Seri Begawan - Brunei's famed 644-million-dollar amusement park - Jerudong Park Playground - will relaunch this weekend after being "virtually dead" for years, park officials said Friday. Opened in 1994, the Playground was once billed at the largest amusement park in South-East Asia, boasting lavish rides, entertainment venues and a free admission policy.

The government hoped the multi-million-dollar extravaganza would attract thousands of foreign tourists to the tiny oil-rich nation, but the response proved disappointing.

To cope with the smaller-than-expected foreign market, the Playground's administration started charging admission fees and started a ride ticketing system a few years ago, which turned off Brunei visitors.

"Despite the charge, almost all rides were closed back then. So we re…

Jame Asr Stained Glass

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The Guardian UK had this story on 8th December 2009 about John Lawson. Who? I bet that you would ask. I asked that too until I saw this photograph:-

[Stained Glass at Jame Asr Mosque in Kiarong]

And it was this guy who made that:-



John Lawson, who has died of cancer aged 77, was one of the leading stained-glass artists of his generation. He designed glorious windows not only in Westminster Abbey and many other British cathedrals and churches, but also in mosques, palaces and hotels as far afield as Dubai, Oman and Brunei. For the last three decades of the 20th century he was chief artist for the internationally renowned Goddard & Gibbs Studios.

When the 20-year restoration of Westminster Abbey was nearing completion in 1992, Donald Buttress, the Surveyor of the Fabric, or cathedral architect, suggested that the work should be commemorated with a replacement stained-glass window for the plain clear-glass one on the west wall of the abbey's early-16th-century Henry VII chapel. Lawso…

Remember, Remember, The 8th of December

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Exactly 47 years ago today, some people thought they heard fireworks. They were wondering why fireworks? Thy did not know that it was not fireworks that they heard. It was the sound of small arms fire. A group of people decided that they needed to take matters into their own hands. I was a two month old fetus in those days. My mother told me that she and my father had to sleep on the floor in case any stray bullet went through their wooden government quarters in Kuala Belait. One uncle told me that he was almost shot at by another uncle when he as members of the armed guards of BSP went to the Panaga Police Station to take refuge. The police shot at them because they thought the guards wanted to attack the police station. What I know about what happened 47 years ago was what I heard and read. A number of books had been written about it. Today my entry is about those books which you can go to the bookshops and buy them for yourselves.

Remember, Remember, The 8th of December. Our own HRH…

Karnival Daerah Tutong

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The people in Tutong District are really working hard to make their Tutong District Carnival a success. For those who do not know what to do today have the following options at Tutong:-

* Pesta dan Pertunjukan Kereta @ Kompleks Dewan Kemasyarakatan (from 9 am to 10 pm), today is the last day. It started on Friday.

* Pesta Pengguna @ Petani Mall (from 10 am to 10 pm), it started yesterday and will go on until the 13th December.

* Pesta Produk Mukim dan Kampung @ Kompleks Pasarneka dan Tamu Tutong (from 7 am to 5 pm), this one too started yesterday and will end on the 9th December.

* Cabaran 4x4 @ Kawasan Lapang Berdekatan Mahad Islam (from 10 am to 5 pm), watch the 4x4 SUVs compete, started yesterday and will end today.

* Kebudayaan dan Kesenian @ Kompleks Pasarneka dan Tamu (from 9 am), this is a two day event with a number of shows from various groups, today is the second and last day.

* Walkaton Amal @ Padang Kompleks Dewan Kemasyarakatan (from 6.30 am), I guess by the time you read this,…

Bruneian in Atomic Bomb Hiroshima

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I remembered when I was in Darjah 4 way back in the very early 1970s, one of the fahaman article or comprehension I was reading had a story about a Brunei man during the aftermath of the first atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Apparently he had been a student there and the bomb fell over the city. Luckily he survived the bombing. After that I searched high and low for the book but to no avail. At that time I didn't know who the author was let alone from which book was the excerpt taken from.

About three years ago, I was in Mega Book Store. That's a free plug for the bookshop. I found this book written by Pengiran Yusof. I am 46 years old now and of course by now I know who he is and that he was the one who was in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped by the Americans. I glanced through the book and lo and behold, that narrative was in the book. I quickly bought it, it was only $9.60.

I was rather surprised to discover that the book was only published in 2002 by Dewan Bahasa Malaysia. So I…

Our Pantangs

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Someone asked in the comment box whether I could write something about pantang larang of Bruneians. I could. But then why would I do that? There is a book that you can actually buy and read all about it.

This book published by our Dewan Bahasa in 2006 contained all there is to know about the do's and dont's of our society or rather the dont's of our society. All the pantangs are listed in alphabetical order and altogether there are 115 of them (I counted). They range from 'Anak perempuan dilarang bermain permainan lelaki kelak sigau' to 'Tidur atau baring di atas batang besar ditakuti ditolak hantu kagui'.

For each pantang, there is a reason given and what lesson the pantang was supposed to teach. And there are also illustrations for a number of them.

If you read through them, most of readers will recognise a few but to be honest I am sure you will not recognise or even realise that there are pantangs which nobody has told you about. Some are slightly out of d…

Old Tutong Photo

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I was looking through my father's old album searching for photographs to illustrate my third book when I came across this photograph. I thought this will go nicely with the maulud article in that book.

My father was an Assistant District Officer in Tutong in the 1960s. You can see him in the middle of the photograph in white with his interesting long shoes. That shoe we used to call as kasut pembunuhan. I don't know why. I thought it has gone out of fashion until I saw someone wearing it recently.

Anyway, the photograph is not so much about maulud but it is more about Tutong. If you look at the background, you can see old shops. That shophouse building has been torn down, someone told me burnt down, whatever it is, it has been replaced. The interesting information is that Kedai Haji Hasbullah, the famous maker of pulut panggang is still there.

What's more interesting is that the shop labels. All the Chinese labels are in Jawi. Nowadays labels are both in rumi and jawi. In jaw…

The History of the Borneo Games

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I was asked to research on the history of the Borneo Games by Brunei Times. The 3rd Borneo Games is currently on at various venues throughout Brunei at the moment. I found out many things including the fact that one of my uncles was the first Brunei Borneo Games athletes. My article was published yesterday on Brunei Times:-

Remember these names? Sinin Metali, Aloysius Sibidol, Zainab Kadir, Junaidi Hamdan, George Chong, Abdullah Mustafa, Sanah Tamit, Pengiran Md Zain, Katherine Teo and Marina Metali? If these names do not jog your memory, then what about Latif Olen, Kuda Dita or Dilbaugh Sinkler?

Bruneians in the 1950s and 1960s interested in sports would remember that these were Brunei’s and some of our neighbouring states’ best athletes competing in the Borneo Games. Borneo Games was the most prestigious athletics competition that we had at that time.

Not many people remembered the first few Borneo Games nor did people remember the first Brunei athlete who took part in the first Borne…