Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Food Security in Brunei Darussalam

[The Oxford Business Group reported the following news about Brunei on 27 September 2011.]

+++++

Food Security in Brunei Darussalam

Brunei Darussalam is ramping up efforts to increase its rice harvest – seen as core to its policy of strengthening food security – turning to newly developed high-yield grains and improved technology to raise production, though it will be some years before the Sultanate comes close to its goal of meeting most of its domestic needs with home-grown crops.

Rice is one of the staples of the local cuisine, though it is challenging to supply. Between Brunei Darussalam’s rising population, an increasing number of rural workers seeking employment in urban areas and limited suitable land available for rice growing, the gap between production and demand has been widening. To meet local demand, the Sultanate relies on imports, with well over 95% of rice consumed being shipped in from overseas. In early September, in fact, Thailand’s prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, visited Brunei Darussalam and reported that the Sultanate was keen to buy more jasmine rice from Thailand.

But Brunei Darussalam would prefer to see fewer imports and more home-grown production: the global food crisis of 2007-08 saw the Sultanate, along with many other grain importers, caught short, with the state having to increase subsidies and pay over the odds on the international market to ensure demand was met. This crisis prompted the government to set the ambitious target of achieving 60% self sufficiency in rice production by 2015, which, if achieved, would be a major step up from the 3.12% recorded in 2007, when more than 31,000 tonnes of rice had to be imported.

To assist local growers, the state has been providing free insecticides and fungicides, technical support, training in modern cultivation techniques and funding incentives. However, despite the best efforts of farmers and the state, the Sultanate fell far short of its mid-term goal of meeting 20% of its rice requirements by the end of 2010, with a combination of adverse weather conditions, including heavy flooding, and insufficient amount of land developed for paddy farming among the main causes for the shortfall.

Though the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA), the Sultanate’s lead agency in the campaign to boost rice production, has unveiled plans to increase the area under cultivation for padi from 1300 ha to around 5000 ha, a 285% jump, progress in identifying and preparing suitable sites has been slow. Having to put in place the extensive infrastructure required for rice growing, including water supplies and transport access, the DAA has been constrained by the need to protect Brunei’s delicate ecological balance.

According to Jamaluddin Yusoff, the DAA’s head of management and finance, proposals to cultivate new areas are being subjected to environmental impact assessment, which involves political, social and economic considerations.

“It is still progressing, but opening up new land isn’t an easy matter,” he said during the 31st ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board (AFSRB) meeting in mid-July. “We have to maintain our rainforest and our jungles as well, and take into consideration the social effect to the local communities.”

While the DAA may be running behind schedule on its plans to open up new fields for cultivation, it is optimistic that it can greatly increase output from existing plots through advanced seed technology.

In late July, the DAA announced it was in the process of acquiring the rights to two strains of rice that would be used to produce a special hybrid variety of the grain ideally suited to Brunei Darussalam’s conditions.

The new hybrid strain, developed in cooperation with Singapore-based firm SunLand Agri-Tech, will have a strong resistance to pests and disease, can be cultivated in areas with restricted access to water and have above average yields, according to the DAA’s acting director, Hjh Aidah Mohd Hanifah.

“With the acquisition of these rights, the department can plant and produce this hybrid variety without the need to pay any royalties to SunLand Agri-Tech,” Hjh Aidah told local media. “This will benefit the department in the long run since the department will not need to keep on importing and buying the seeds of the hybrid.”

Under its agreement with SunLand Agri-Tech, DAA staff will receive training in the best techniques for planting and cultivating the new rice variety and in developing more advanced hybrid strains.

The Sultanate has high hopes for its new national rice strain. Trials last year showed that some of the hybrid varieties tested gave yields of four to 14 tonnes per hectare, up to three times the average production.

Brunei Darussalam’s drive to increase its rice production is timely, with a recent report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) predicting a sharp drop in global rice stockpiles, with the forecast 2m tonne surplus over the coming few years set to fall to just 200,000 tonnes by the end of the decade. In its report, issued in mid-July, the FAO said its projections were based on normal weather patterns and that the dwindling surplus could be further eaten into by any extreme climate conditions such as drought or flooding.

If farmers can even come close to achieving the increase in productivity that the advocates of the new hybrid rice strain believe is possible, the Sultanate will go a long way towards staving off another round of shortages and higher prices, and help boost the nation’s food security.

+++++

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Save Electricity

The Department of Electrical Services (DES) has published a new pamphlet with regard to the new tariffs that will be in place from the beginning of 2012. The tariffs will provide and help the poor and will penalise the heavy user. Hopefully with the new tariff, users will be more careful with their electricity and not waste it.

The new electricity tariff structure is:

0001 kWh to 0500 kWh = B$0.01 cents
0501 kWh to 1500 kWh = B$0.10 cents
1501 kWh Above = B$0.15 cents

The DES has also prepared comparison monthly charges between current usage with new tariffs:

Previously $30 = New $5.00 (500 kWh)
Previously $50 = New $40.00 (833 kWh)
Previously $100 = New $120.00 (1667 kWh)
Previously $150 = New $255.00 (2500 kWh)
Previously $200 = New $380.00 (3333 kWh)
Previously $250 = New $500.00 (4167 kWh)
Previously $300 = New $630.00 (5000 kWh)

Some facts:

  • Currently we have the highest energy intensity in ASEAN and is ranked 12th out of 198 countries.
  • The actual cost of energy in 2010 is B$2 billion and will be doubled by 2035
  • Government subsidies is B$1 billion in 2010 and projected to be B$2.5 billion in 2035
  • Brunei is one of the highest GHG emission per capita


So, switch off that electrical equipment that you are not using. It is going to cost you more in the long run.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sungai Kargu Dam


Not many people in Brunei know where this is or what this is.

This is the site of the Kargu Dam, the latest reservoir for Brunei Darussalam, before it is totally submerged in water in the next few months leaving just that red canopy and that walkway above water. Everything else up to the treeline will all be under water. It will take between one to two year for the dam to fill up completely depending on how much rainfall over the next year.


It is located near Kampung Kargu somewhere on the way to Labi. Sungai Kargu was a relatively unknown stream until one day when it was discovered to have sufficient water flow and the right geography and geology for it to be converted into a dam. Yesterday was the ceremony to plug the final hole to stop water coming out and the dam finally became a dam.


This $35 million dam is currently being built by TSL Construction Sdn Bhd and had been undergoing construction since October 2007. Its sole purpose is to secure water available to Belait District from 150 million litre per day to 260 million litre per day. Water will not be extracted directly from the dam but this dam will serve as a regulating dam. When water is needed at the extraction station for Belait District at Badas during droughts etc, then only will the water be released from this dam. This is similar to the Benutan Dam in Tutong where water is released when it is needed at Layong.

This dam will store around 10.7 million cubic metre of water from a catchment area of 14.3 square kilometre. In fact that is a lot of forest which had to be sacrificed to build this dam.

A number of people would ask is this necessary? Unfortunately the answer is yes. In the last water demand study for Belait District in 2006, the Water Department found that Belait District needed a lot of water supply and now a lot more especially with the Sungai Liang Industrial Park. One way to ensure this water supply is to build this dam. Even with this dam, the water authorities can only ensure water supply to meet water demand up to the year 2030. Beyond that if the current forecasted demand goes where it is, then even with this dam, the water supply is insufficient. The government is already thinking of building another dam.

Saving water is essential and many do not know that the effect of just leaving that water tap running while you are brushing your teeth can cause environmental impact.


 [All photographs are sourced from Richard Chua. Thanks Richard!]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Guardian of the Malay Language

[My article below was published on 19th September 2011 in my regular column, The Golden Legacy on The Brunei Times. This is an update of an earlier article I wrote in 2009 which is currently in my third book 'Our Brunei Heritage' which can be found in Best Eastern bookshops.]

+++++

Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka -- Guardian of the Malay Language --

It is not known when the Malay Language was first used in Brunei. In 644 AD, the definition Malay appeared in Chinese writings as ‘Mo-Le-Yeu’ when Chinese history recorded that the Malays had sent a tribute to the Emperor of China. Historians agree that ‘old Malay’ or ancient Malay was used extensively with Sanskrit before the mid-15th century when Malay became more widespread and used to spread Islam.

In Brunei, the Malay language was used extensively during the early days of the Sultanate. But it was not until 1906 when Brunei Darussalam started to use Malay officially in the education system. It was 50 years later that the usage of the language got a boost.

The status of the Malay Language was enhanced with the enactment of the Brunei Darussalam Constitution on 29 September 1959. Section 82(1) of the Constitution officially stated that the Malay Language shall become Brunei Darussalam’s official language.

In April 1960, one proposal was tabled in the State Legislative Council for an independent agency to be formed to ensure the usage of the Malay Language as the official language of the country.

In 1961, the government formed the Language Board (Lembaga Bahasa) which was administratively placed under the Education Department. The Board’s name was later changed to the Language and Literary Section. Haji Awang Mohd Jamil (now Pehin Dato Dr Haji Mohd Jamil) became the Language Board’s first Director.

The Board’s Language Week project started in 1961 ensured the usage of the Malay language. Throughout the Language Week, a number of programs were run such as lectures, books exhibition, posters, oratory competition, debate competition, poetry recital competition, writing competition as well as singing competition, all in the Malay language.

A procession was held in the capital city, Bandar Brunei, made up of school children and government departments, each team carrying banners displaying slogans such as ‘Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa’ and ‘Hidup Bahasa Hiduplah Bangsa.’ A special song was composed by Awang Besar Sagap with lyrics written by Yura Halim, both of whom were responsible for the Brunei national anthem.

From 1962 onwards, the government issued several circulars. The circulars issued by the State Secretariat (Pejabat Setiausaha Kerajaan) ensured the usage of the Malay Language officially throughout the government. The first circular SUK 30/1962 outlined the main task of the Board which was to carry out the content of Section 82(1) of the Brunei Darussalam Constitution.

In 1962, another campaign, the National Language Month or Bulan Bahasa Kebangsaan was launched similar to the Language Week but with all the districts involved.  Similar activities were held throughout the other districts.

The National Language Declaration which was declared by everyone in the country on 23 July 1962 was the highlight of the event.

The State Secretariat’s circular of 36/1962 dated 28 June 1962 officially stated the use of the Malay language in the government. Further circulars of 8/1960, 52/1963, 38/1964, 26/1965 and 22/1981 all ensured that the Malay language shall be used throughout the government departments.

Meetings were held with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce regarding the use of the Malay language on 16 May 1963 and on 30 May 1964. Banks were also engaged with a similar meeting in April 1965. The wide usage of the businesses’ signboards of the Malay Language both in the roman and jawi alphabets marked the success of the Malay language used by both the government and the private sector.

On 1 January 1965, the Language and Literary Section was taken out of the Education Department to become Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka a full-fledged department in its own right.

The main focus of the Language and Literature Bureau remains the same which guaranteed the placement and importance of the Malay language to its rightful place as the basis of Bruneian culture and identity. Its main focus is to become a knowledge centre that has the ability to increase the prestige of the national language, literature and the cultural values of the country.

By June 1966, the Bureau published its first journal ‘Bahana’; in May 1967, its second journal ‘Beriga’ and four months later, its first children’s journal ‘Mekar.’

The number of staff increased throughout the years. In 1961, there were 2 and by 1965, 30 people, 1970 - 67 people, 1980 - 92 people, by 1985 exceeded 200 and by 1990s up to now, the staff number had exceeded 300.

The foundation stone of the main $2.6 million Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka building at Jalan Elizabeth II was laid by His Majesty Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saiffudien on 28 September 1965. It was declared opened on 29 September 1968 with the main library opened to the public two months later.

The first mobile library service was launched in August 1970 to Kampung Sengkurong and later on to Tutong District. However it was not until 1971 that books were lent to the public from the main library.

By 1975, two more libraries were opened in Kuala Belait and Tutong, in 1976 in Seria and in 1978 in Bangar, Temburong. During the 8th National Development Plan, more libraries were opened in Muara, Pandan, Lambak Kanan and Sengkurong. The mobile library services continued throughout the years to serve many communities throughout the country.

On 29 September 1989, the then Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, laid the foundation stone for the Bureau’s new headquarters in the Old Airport Government Complex. The $11 million building was used from 1992. The old building at Jalan Elizabeth II remained as the main national library. A new National Library is currently being envisaged to be built.

Today, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka is responsible for language and literary development and propagation, cultural research and documentation and book publication besides to provide library services to all over the country.

The bureau has contributed consistently to the Malay Language development through its numerous activities. Workshops such as Jawi writing promote the development of the Jawi system. Storytelling competitions such as Mari Bercerita helps to generate reading culture among the Bruneian youths in Malay.

Apart from conducting competitions, the Bureau plays a crucial role as a publishing institution in Brunei of various forms of writing, from children’s novels to poetry and cookery books.

The bureau continues to offer its services by providing Jawi translations of posters or billboards free of charge; translating texts from English to Malay; and to offer guidance and advice regarding the national language.

The bureau also fosters a close relationship with regional and international associations and similar institutions.

In its 50 year of existence, the Language and Literature Bureau played a crucial role in the development of the Malay nation and Brunei Darussalam.

Indeed, during the Golden Jubilee celebrations on 17 September 2011, His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam while urging that the sovereignty of the Malay Language must not be slackened, but upheld so as not to become a second-class language; was pleased to note that the Language and Literature Bureau has stood as an institution entrusted with building and developing the Malay Language in Brunei Darussalam over the past 50 years.

18th September 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Golden Anniversary of Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka Brunei

Dewan Bahasa celebrated its 50th anniversary very recently. His Majesty himself graced the ocassion and noted the role of Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka as the guardian of our Malay Language. The Minister of Home Affairs also gave a talk on the sustainability of the Malay language, the language with the fourth largest group in the world. He said that there were more than 30,000 languages but now only around 5,000 had survived and by the end of the century, about half would have disappeared. And according to Pehin, one of the factors which determine longetivity of the language is the number of speakers. That being the case the Malay Language will be able to survive for quite sometime yet.

The postal authorities also issued stamps to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Dewan Bahasa.

Technical Details about the stamps:

Name of Issue
The Golden Jubiless of the Establishment of Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka

Date of Issue
17 September 2011

Stamp Denomination
$1.00, 50 cents and 20 cents

Price of Miniature Sheet
$1.70

Designer
Awang Abd Ajihis bin Haji Terawih

Printer
Secura Singapore Pte Ltd, Singapore

Size of Stamp
29.85 mm x 40.8 mm

Size of Miniature Sheet
145 mm x 105 mm

Printing Process
Offset and Gold Hot Stamping

Paper
102 gsm

Perforation
13 per 2 cm

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Brunei School Lunches

This is an additional photograph of those students at Sekolah Lela Mencanai enjoying their free school lunches. Notice that one or two are not wearing their school uniforms. In the 1950s, Brunei were still recovering from the Second World War and there were still people facing hardships. The main reason why the feeding scheme started was to help feed the Brunei school children. This program continued only in certain areas now.

The more interesting question as who are these people in the photos? They must be grandfathers by now. If there is any of their grandchildren reading this, I would love to know how their grandfather fared.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brunei School Lunches

There have been many government policies in the past. However one of the best to me is the school feeding scheme. Today's students may not know it but in the 1950s when the Brunei Government introduced the school feeding scheme, it was a life saver to many poor school children living in the rural areas.

In the late 1960s and 1970s when I first went to school, the feeding scheme was much better. We went into the school's hall lining up and getting a plate each filled with rice and other food such as chicken and interesting vegetables. I acquired the taste for cooked bean sprouts and pumpkins during this school lunches.

This photograph from Sekolah Lela Mencanai brought memories of my old school in Bangar. A few of us students would go to the kitchen which was in another block and brought the food in metal buckets like the ones in the photographs. We would then pile the food using our own metal plates.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Sultan visits School

I recently acquired this photograph from the internet. This one shows our 28th Sultan, Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien during a visit to one of the rural school somewhere in Brunei. This was probably around 1960s.

Two things to note.

One is the baju melayu worn by His Majesty. This is the Brunei style Baju Melayu with the handkerchief attached to the front of the shirt. The colour is also interesting as the design of the baju melayu is completely unusual.

The second thing to note is the stage used by His Majesty. The stage is made up of several wooden tables used by the students. I find that amazing.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Brunei Construction on the Fast Track

The Oxford Business Group reported the following news on 7th September 2011.

+++++

Brunei Darussalam: Construction on the fast track

Brunei Darussalam has moved to further streamline the approval process for construction and land development projects to boost foreign investment and encourage local builders. However, government initiatives to improve workplace conditions and regulations will require construction firms to comply with tighter environmental protection requirements.

The Ministry of Development (MoD) has set the ambitious target of slashing the time it takes to get approval for the two stages of construction – land development and building – from around 50 days to 24. The ultimate goal is two weeks or less, with a recently established agency tasked with streamlining bureaucratic procedures. The Authority for Building Control and Construction Industry division (ABCi), a unit of the MoD, now has the lead role in coordinating and processing applications for building and land development for residential, commercial and industrial purposes.

The minister of development, Kaya Indera Pahlawan Setia Suyoi bin Osman, told local media on July 2 that the establishment of ABCi was a response to calls by developers for the government to address lengthy permit approval procedures.

According to the minister, up until last year approvals for land development took 52 days to complete, while those for construction permits took 54 days. Since the ABCi has been in charge of the application process, this timeframe has been reduced to 24 and 26 days, respectively, though Suyoi said that even this was too long, and that the next step was to cut the period for processing to 24 days for the combined processes.

“I hope the process for both procedures can be further reduced to 14 days in order to provide the public and private sectors with a more efficient service as is in line with the government’s effort in facilitating the ease of doing business in the country,” the minister said. Such measures would make Brunei a more competitive and transparent place in which to conduct business, he said, with the streamlined processes serving to attract investment and people.

The minister’s comments came at a ceremony to mark the incorporation of the new Building Control Unit within the ABCi. Itself only established in May 2010, the ABCi has steadily been strengthened, now incorporating functions from the Construction Planning and Research Unit, the Bumiputra Guidance and Development Unit, the Housing Control Unit, the Housing Development Department and the Development Control Unit.

The acting head of the ABCi, Pengiran Adnan Pengiran Badarudin, said that with the addition of the BCU, all of the necessary steps for construction approval had been brought under the control of one authority. “We are adding another function so it will enable ABCi to have the whole package that is comprehensive,” he said. “Now that it is under one roof, and we are being assisted by the Fire and Rescue Department, the Ministry of Health and the Electrical Department, we are able to quicken the process.”

This fast tracking of construction approval will no doubt meet with the approval of the World Bank, which placed Brunei Darussalam 74th globally in its construction procedures category in its “Ease of Doing Business” report, saying the Sultanate has 33 separate steps that must be taken before a construction permit can be issued. It does note, however, that many of these can be carried out simultaneously.

By establishing and reinforcing the ABCi, Brunei Darussalam is moving to implement the advice of the World Bank, which recommends that countries set up one-stop shops for construction approval as a measure to prevent the overlapping of responsibilities and to better coordinate bureaucratic processes. With the fast-tracked construction approval process up and running, it is likely that Brunei will climb more than a few rungs up the “Ease of Doing Business” ladder next year. If further reforms are put in place, the Sultanate should be able to build on this year’s achievements.

The government has also moved to increase environmental awareness in the building industry. The MoD has announced it will soon be releasing new guidelines to ensure all building sites meet required standards regarding flood mitigation, erosion prevention and water and air pollution controls.

Though building contractors may have to factor in additional costs in their projects to meet new environmental standards, any such outlays will be minimal, especially when compared to the fines the state could levy for damage to the country’s sensitive ecosystem.

While the World Bank has cautioned that increasing the speed of approvals processes should not see standards lowered, it appears that Brunei Darussalam, with its recent and pending reforms, is working to build on quality control while also cutting red tape.

+++++

Monday, September 05, 2011

Visit by Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to Brunei 1961

In Malaya August 1961 issue, the Journal for the British Association of Malaya, it had this news entry about the visit by Yang Di-Pertuan Agong of Malaya to Brunei from 1st to 4th July 1961. The news read as follows:-

+++++

BRUNEI PEOPLE CHEER THE KING OF MALAYA 
... and Praise with Happy Hearts his Beautiful Queen 

 Brunei people opened their hearts to the King and Queen of Malaya during their five-day visit from the 1st to 4th July. In sincerity and friendship they made it a Royal welcome indeed. They viewed the regal bearing of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong with somen regard and, when they saw the Queen, exclaimed, "Isn't she beautiful!"

One hundred Brunei police in smart white jackets and black trousers formed a Guard of Honour to welcome the Royal visitors on their arrival at Brunei airport. Thousands of Government officials, school children, and other well wishers turned out to show their warm affection for the Sultan's friend from Malaya. The Sultan of Brunei and the Raja Isteri personally walked to the aircraft to greet the Royal guests. Driving into town together in a black Daimler the King and the Sultan were followed in a pink Cadillac by the Queen and the Raja Isteri. Leading the procession were the Sultan's Palace Guards in colourful array. The swordsmen were dressed in total black and carried bright silver shields. The spear bearers wore vivid red. After another welcome at Istana Darul Hana the Royal guests attended a State Banquet at the civic centre.

During the visit a reception was held at the Shell Recreation Club, Seria, after which the King and Queen of Malaya and the Sultan and Raja Isteri of Brunei attended a State lunch at the District Officer's residence. The Queen visited the Shell oil area and on MOnday evening the King took part in a foursome at the Panaga Club golf course when, after muffling his first drive, he exclaimed, "I should have brought a tennis reacket."

Returning to Brunei Town on Tuesday afternoon the visitors attended a Royal Banquet at Istana Darul Hana. Gifts were exchanged and friendship pledged. On Wednesday morning at 7.58 a.m. the Royal guests for home in a Malayan Airways Viscount. Thousands thronged the airport to wave them farewell.

+++++

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Daily BR on Wikileaks

I was checking out the wikileaks and found a couple of diplomatic reports from the American Embassy here in Brunei which had me in it.

The first was during the 2009 Letter of Exchange between Brunei and Malaysia with regard to the boundary between Brunei and Malaysia which brought the Limbang claims issue.

+++++

BRUNEI'S MIXED REACTION
-------------- --------
¶7. (SBU) Rozan Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Development, wrote on his blog; "I am not that much worried about the land boundary or the issue of claims...the bigger issue is economics". Rozan would rather focus on the maritime agreement because there is great potential in the maritime area. Another popular local blogger, 'anakbrunei' concurred with Rozan's statement and agreed that "we should be focusing on the potential economic gains rather than getting all hot and bothered over the border".

+++++

The second was also in 2009 during the TIP (Trafficking in Person) Report.

+++++

FORCED LABOR: REACTION
-----------------------
2.(SBU)On June 18, 2009, the two leading local English language papers gave front page coverage to the State Department's 2009 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. Local bloggers including the popular "Bruneiresource" and "Lifestyle" blogs also reported on TIP. Throughout the remainder of June, the report generated articles in local papers and feedback on the popular Brudirect "Have No Fear, Have Your Say" online forum. One expatriate columnist, David R Smith, wrote an op-ed and claimed; "one only has to drive around Brunei to see foreign workers living in ramshackle corrugated iron shed with little or no access to running water." However, Smith did not state that foreign workers were suffering from direct abuse within the workplace or from employers. Another columnist, Azlan Othman from Borneo Bulletin, said; "Employers and foreign workers have mixed reactions on the issue of days off, with employers being concerned their maids would get into a wrong company on their off days while foreign workers welcome the move." On June 24, a prominent Bruneian employment agency, Amal Lee Manpower, told the Brunei Times that "employment agencies are blameless for helpers' plight." Amal said that employment agencies are simply responsible for the work permit paperwork, application insurance, travel arrangements, and medical screening. Amal did state that domestic helpers would have to settle any fees owned to their agents here and in their home country.

+++++

I wonder what else has been reported.

PS.
One of my nephews alerted me that there was another one which I missed which was about the Legislative Council. It's as follows.

BRUNEI'S PUBLIC REACTION 
------------------------ 
9.(SBU) There was a positive impact where locals noted the LegCo is 
now starting to speak about the sensitive issues of Permanent 
Residence openly. 'Bruneiresource' blogger, the Permanent Secretary 
at the Ministry of Development, Rozan Yunos said the session was 
"important so that the public can raise important questions in a 
public chamber through appointed representatives" and advised the 
public that, "if you want to hear your questions, you better know 
who your district representatives are and email them what you need 
them to ask." The Dean of Faculty Business, Economics and Policy 
Studies at the University of Brunei Darussalam, Dr Roger Lawrey, 
commented on the Sustainability Fund as "very prudent and exemplary 
move made by the government to protect its (Brunei) income and 
revenues for sustainability".


Thursday, September 01, 2011

Origin of Baju Melayu

Someone asked in the comment box - "Spartan Rookie: Salam, wondering where we got started with our traditional pakaian melayu."

I don't really know. I know that in ancient Chinese history, there was a description of what Bruneians wore about 700 to 800 years ago. It was not the traditional pakaian melayu which we wore today. Incidentally Dr Siti Norkhalbi, the Director of Brunei Studies Academy did a study on this. It's published in her book entitled "Textiles and Identity in Brunei Darussalam" but this is focused more on the kain tenunan.

I checked the internet and pahang-delights.com has kindly prepared the answer to the above as follows:-

+++++

BAJU MELAYU HISTORY

What is Baju Melayu?

Baju Melayu is the general reference to the traditional Malay costume for men and it is said that the style has been in existence since the 15th Century. Actually it has two specific style names, the Baju Kurung Cekak Musang and the Baju Kurung Teluk Belanga. [BR note: There is a third style especially for Brunei traditional dress though this is hardly seen nowadays. The Brunei style has a handkerchief or a piece of cloth attached where the buttons are.]

The man widely acknowledged as the creator of the male Baju Melayu, and the person who first popularized it in the 15th Century in the Malacca Sultanate is Tun Hassan Temenggong, the son of Bendahara Seri Maharaja Tun Mutahir.

The Malacca Empire was enjoying its heydays during the 15th to early 16th Century until the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511. It was the strongest empire in the region then stretching from Sumatra in the south to Thailand in the north, and was a center of entreport trade, with traders from India, China, Middle East and Europe coming and sailing to trade there.

With the influx of foreigners to Malacca, they also brought with them their own fashion styles. These eventually influenced the Malay attire, which combined the flowing loose fitting styles (robes) of the Arabs and Indians, trousers and pants of the Mongols and Turks, with the simplicity and elegance of the Europeans. And the Malay Baju Melayu was born.

MALAY MEN'S ATTIRE DURING THE MALACCA SULTANATE

What was the Malay men’s attire during the Malacca Sultanate?

Well, it was said that Malay men during the Malacca Empire in the 15th Century, wore rather simple attire.

The clothes they wore were said to be short sleeved and tight fitting. The shirt is basically a tunic, and the pants are cut in the style of the "gunting Aceh", that is, a little tight and ending at the middle of the lower leg.

This design and cut of the Malay men’s attire can be seen today, and is the usual wear of silat exponents during silat performances.

THE CHANGES BY TUN HASSAN TEMENGGONG

And what are the changes Tun Hassan Temenggong made to the Malay attire then to warrant him to be known as the creator of the present Baju Melayu?

Well, Tun Hassan Temenggong was the person who first extended the over-all length of the men’s shirt dress down to the length of the arms. At the same time, he made them very loose-fitting, with the shirt dress widening downwards.

He also lengthened the sleeves of the shirt to the wrists, and widened the end of the sleeves of the shirts to make it loose fitting. The cut ensured that the shirt sleeves could be folded up to the arms, when desired. This is useful when taking meals, for instance.

And this cut and style of Baju Melayu remain with some slight variations until today, and considered as the traditional costume for the Malay men.

Although there are slight variations in the costume, such as the neck design of the Teluk Belanga (Johore) style, the over-all simple cut and design of the Cekak Musang style, however, remains true to the Baju Melayu style pioneered by Tun Hassan Temenggong.

This rather abrupt change or difference on the design attire for Malay men pioneered by Tun Hassan Temenggong was recorded in the Malay Annals or "Sejarah Melayu".

+++++

Inspirational Quotes

Loading...