Sunday, September 26, 2010

Open Air Classroom


Students of today had no idea what kind of classrooms we had to endure in the 1970s. Today almost every school had fantastic looking sports facilities and brand new school blocks.

In the 1970s, we had to endure open classroom out in the SOAS fields. The Brunei Preparatory School in Bandar Seri Begawan only had walls separating the classes but no walls on either side. When anyone walks past, you can see the students. Even the staff room had no walls either. When it rains heavily and especially with the winds, one side always had to move in to avoid the rain.

I did not go to BPS in Bandar but I managed to use the classrooms for my ugama classes. At that time only the Madrasah had ugama sessions in the morning but Madrasah was so full that a number of us were transferred to Ugama school at BPS HQ as we used to call it. It was an interesting mix.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Teachers Day

Many of us had forgotten that the 23rd September was Teacher's Day. The celebration I think had been put off to sometime next week. That's ok too. It gives me this whole one week to put up old teachers photos.

One of the photos is the one that belongs to teachers of the BPS School in 1971. I remembered one of the teachers in this photo is Cikgu Jamilah Ahmad. She was my Prep 1 teacher in 1973 at BPS Lambak. She is no.8 from the left in the middle row.

Another teacher is my uncle, Cikgu Sany Hussein, he is no.4 from the right on the top row.

You might recognise some of your old teachers. Click on the photo and the enlarged version will come out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Batu Lintang Teacher Training College

I bought this book at the Sarawak Museum bookshop when I was there in August. Priced at RM85, I thought it was a bit steep at first. After looking through the book, it was a worthwhile buy.

The book written quite sometime ago (1995) is an account of Batu Lintang - how it progressed from being a camp for the British Army towards becoming a Prisoner of War camp for the British and Allied Forces captured by the Japanese and then becoming a Japanese POW camp run by the Allied Forces before finally becoming the Batu Lintang Teachers Training College by the late 1940s.

The book is an interesting account but it does not pretend to cover everything. There are many stories and tales during the harrowing period of the POW camp run by the Japanese that one can read on Wikipedia.

What most Bruneians do not know also is that the association of this camp with Brunei. It housed the Punjab Platoon that was supposed to protect Brunei but in reality only burned the oil rigs from falling to the Japanese (the Japanese managed to stop the fire and acutally managed to get production still), those same soldiers were then captured and kept as POW, some Bruneians who joined as policemen during the Japanese occupation was also kept as prisoners when the Allied Forces occupied Brunei and finally when it became a college, a number of early Brunei teachers were trained there as well as a number of Brunei students (the college also ran a school).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Headhunting in Brunei

Thanks to everyone who gave ideas about what to do with my computer. It was indeed a virus attack and I lost the winsock.dll file or whatever equivalent it is on Windows 7. The technician took less than 10 minutes to repair it. Unfortunately it took me more than 2 weeks to bring it over to him. I got the PC up and running yesterday.

What have I been doing in the meantime?

I have been reading books. One in particular was this book edited by Janet Hoskins with the title Headhunting and the Social Imagination in Southeast Asia. What caught my attention was there was an article in there written by an Allen R Maxwell entitled Headhunting and the Consolidation of Political Power in the Early Brunei State.

I actually referred to this article when I wrote about the early Brunei conquests article a few weeks ago. The Maxwell article actually is based on the Syair Awang Semaun but it focused especially on the headhunting part. When Awang Alak Betatar attacked the Melanau Government in today's Sarawak, thousands of Dayaks also fought with him. They valued heads of their foes and collected thousands during the campaign. Awang Alak Betatar did not take any but he did allow his Dayak soldiers to do that. The whole article talked about the rationality and the justification of the entire headhunting episode.

The book is a worthwhile read. I would recommend anyone wanting to find out more about one of our sometimes gruesome history.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Computer Down

Apologies to regular visitors. My PC is currently unable to be connected to the espeed. I have called up TELBRU people, someone came over twice and said that the connection is fine but my PC is not connecting. So I am unable to to update from home. Does anyone has a solution or what I can do, other than bring the PC to the shop?

Inspirational Quotes

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