Showing posts from May, 2012

5th ASEAN Ministers of Culture and the Arts 2012

Bandar Seri Begawan - Culture plays a crucial role towards the consolidation of a caring Asean community of mutual cooperation.

This was said by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, during the fifth meeting of the Asean Ministers Responsible for Culture and Arts (AMCA) in Singapore on May 26.

"Culture is also recognised by the world as a source of enrichment, sustainable development, eliminating poverty and empowering communities to actively contribute in cultural development," he said at the meeting, according to a press statement from the ministry.

Sharing culture and heritage of the region, the minister explained, is also important in overcoming the influence of extremism and other challenges.

Touching on the contribution of culture to economic development, the minister said that in Asia, despite the global economic crisis, the media and entertainment industry contribute a…

Old versus New

The Museum Department recently celebrated the International Museum Day. The celebration was the normal one of those launching days thing. What struck me the most were the exhibits on the side of the Museum foyer. What the museum folks did was to show the old stuff and its modern equivalent. It really struck us that we have not changed that much. Modern stuff maybe, some with electricity but in the long run, things have not changed. Here are three of them:-

For sale

I remembered when I first started blogging, one of my earliest entry was about the state of our signboards. Most of our small businesess in Brunei are run by our South Asians friends and also by our ASEAN friends and these two groups are not Malay speakers. There have been too many signboards in broken Malay and broken English.

This particular signboard brought to my attention by a Malaysian fb friend is not in Brunei but in Kelantan which can be interpreted as either advertising human trafficking in another of our south Asian friends at a particular road in Kota Bahru or a misspelling the sale of the word Banglo located at that particular road in Kota Bahru. Obviously it is the latter and it is a mispelling (I hope!).  I am a bit worried that this mistake can equally happen to us in Brunei if we are not vigilant.

Note: An alternative view. One of my colleagues said this could be an example of brilliant advertising by the obvious misspelling.

Seria 1950s

Someone posted this photograph on fb. I have to admit I thought I have seen every photo of Seria there is out there but this one I have not seen. This was taken on 15 September 1954 where Jalan Sultan Omar Ali is closed to make way for a bazaar. You can make out the Marina Cinema at the end of the road. Most of the shops or not just the shops but the shop building has now disappeared and replaced with modern buildings. Note the Union Jack flag flying together with the Brunei flag.

This is Seria from another angle taken roughly about the same time as the first photograph. In this photograph you can see the houses in the background.

Brunei 1962

 I found this photograph on the British Imperial War Museum website. It is an interesting photograph taken during the aftermath of the 1962 Rebelion in Brunei. It is a British soldier patroling on the roof of the State Secretariat Building in Jalan Elizabeth II.

You can make out the four British helicopters hovering on the background above the SOAS Mosque. You can also see the old Bandar Police Station to the left of the photograph. That police station obviously is no longer there.

The caption of the photograph from the Imperial War Museum website which gives more detail about the soldier and the British unit that was stationed in Brunei during that time, is as follows:

"A trooper of the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars on guard on the roof of the Government Secretariat Building, following the rebel uprising. In the background is the golden domed mosque in the centre of Brunei town, and flying over are four helicopters from HMS ALBION"

Begawan Paper Money

I never get tired of searching for the first ever Brunei's paper money which is this A series issued in 1967. Everytime I see it and with the right prices I would get them. These I bought off the ebay with ebay international prices and when I won it, I was quite surprised to see that the seller lived in Brunei. Anyway he contacted me and gave me his telephone number and we managed to save ourselves from paying postage costs. The seller lived in Tutong and I found out later that he was related to one of my aunties husband. Small Brunei world.

For some reasons, these notes still appeal to me and even though over the years the prices have increased considerably, I still continue to acquire them. I personally have not used these notes as these were issued in 1967 and by the year 1972 when I have started going to school, the portraits have changed to that of our present Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. Of course in those days, none of us carry dollar notes to school. Only the wealthiest …

Brunei Population and Housing Census 2011

When I arrived at the office today, I saw this book from the Economic Planning and Development Department. This is the preliminary report of Brunei's Population and Housing Census which was done last year. I still remembered the young lady who came over to our house and asked all these questions. I sure hope that half an hour that we gave will contribute towards knowing much more about Brunei.

This book has some interesting data and it leaves a lot of questions as well. Since this is only a preliminary data, I can't wait until the statistics people analyse the detailed data and tell us more things about Brunei.

The major finding is that last year we were just short of 400,000 people. it was 393,162 with 202,668 guys and that leaves 190,494 for the opposite gender. These 393,162 make up 68,208 households thus making each household about 6 people (5.8 to be exact). The most interesting data that is that 81,903 houses and apartments and other living quarters and surprisingly onl…

Brunei 300 Years Ago

[My article below was published in my column, The Golden Legacy on The Brunei Times 8th May 2012 edition. It is based on a blog entry I wrote about a couple of weeks earlier.]


Brunei 300 Years Ago
by Rozan Yunos

There are many descriptions of Brunei in the past. Before the 15th century, historians would find many of them in the Chinese and Arabic records. After the 15th century, with the arrival of the Europeans in the region, the European also wrote extensively about the Southeast Asian region and Brunei. The most famous was the description of Brunei written by Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian Chronicler on board of Magellan’s ships circumnavigating the world.

Pigafetta’s famous description of Brunei’s Kampong Ayer 500 years ago “…the city is built in the sea, the King’s palace and the houses of the principal persons excepted. It contains twenty-five thousand hearths or families. The houses are built of wood upon large piles, to keep them from the water ...”

However there were ot…

Brunei's Cultural Diversity Protected

Nation’s cultural diversity protected

Rabiatul Kamit

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, 12 May 2012 - THE protection of cultural diversity is a priority for Brunei Darussalam, stated the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports on Friday, during the Cultural Diversity Ministerial Forum in the Asia Pacific Region held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah remarked that cultural diversity is a source of pride for the nation, according to a press release.

‘‘Despite being a small country with a population of 400 thousand, we are proud to state that Brunei Darussalam can still offer cultural diversity that reflects the variety of ethnic groups which make-up the composition of our population,’’ he said.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair elaborated that the nation also recognises the importance of cultural diversity towards generating economic opportunities through creative industries.

‘‘However, what’s more important is that culture is not only…

Happy Family Day

National Family Day celebrations were held throughout Brunei Darussalam yesterday. The newspapers reported the enthuasism that was visible throughout the country. Next week we still have the Belait District continuing their activities of family day. So don't forget to visit Kuala Belait next week. Tutong District will continue having family days for their Mukims.
For today, we have the family day photos contributed by Maya Zan.

Happy Family Day

Happy National Family Day! Today is the first National Family Day with many more to come. His Majesty has consented that the first Sunday of every May from henceforth will be the day when we celebrate National Family Day.

Today we have the beautiful family photo from Amalina's family celebrating National Family Day. I hope everyone out there will be as happy as Amalina with her family.

 Activities and places where they are held for today are in the poster above. Please come and join everyone to celebrate National Family Day. Happy Family Day!

Description of Brunei in 1600 and 1700

I wrote about a description of Brunei in the 1700 the other day (which you can link here from a book  written by Rev Dr Francis Valentyn who was with the Dutch Reformed Church and was a missionary to the Indies in the late 1600s and early 1700s. He collected a lot of material and published in eight volumes entitled Oud en Niew Oust Indien (The Old and New East Indies) sometimes between 1724 and 1726.

Let me continue what else he wrote about Brunei in the past:

"The general opinion is that the people of the village of Borneo are the richest of the whole island, not only because of the presence of large quantities of gold, but also because of the quality of the gold is higher, being of a purer and better alloy then found anywhere else. They also have the best camphor in the whole of Indies and other sought after precious riches, which are profitably traded, either for money or cloth. The people of …

National Family Day Happy Family Portraits

These are happy portraits of my sister's family, Rozi with her husband Haslann and their baby Dyanna. Happy National Family Day!

National Family Day Portraits

With the National Family Day celebrations coming up (6th May 2012) and also the International Family Day (15th May 2012), we are trying for people to come up and share with us portraits of their families.
So here are my latest favourites of my very own small family.
If you have photos of your family that you want to showcase, email me and for the next few blogs I will put them up. Happy Family Day!

The Loss of Jawi

Sometimes too much knowledge is a scary thing. I was asked to launch the National Workshop on Jawi Spelling System organised by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) on Monday 30 April 2012. I stayed for the first paper.

My knowledge on jawi especially how it is used here in Brunei suddenly trebled. I have always been curious as I do know that there are several ways of spelling in jawi and you are still correct. The one that got me was when TAP was formed in January 1993. In November 1992, I asked for the jawi for Tabung Amanah Pekerja to be written so that we can print our letterheads. It was done by someone in the Religious Affairs. The spelling for Pekerja was "pa-kap-ra-jim". That ran out sometimes towards the end of 1993 and I asked for a reprint. This time we changed the jawi slightly and I think one of my staff asked DBP and the spelling for Pekerja was "pa-kap-ra-jim-alif" and I asked why was the alif added. My staff said that that's the way it should be …

Very Rare Brunei Paper Money

How many Bruneians remembered using this $1 Brunei paper money? This one is the second of Brunei's money issued in 1972. However this is still the A Series similar in design to the first of Brunei's money - the only difference is the photograph where the first A Series potrayed Sultan Haji Omar Ali and the second A Series potrayed Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. This particular A Series was issued from 1972 to 1989. In 1989, the B Series was issued.

This particular 'specimen' paper note has no value - in other words, if you have it, you can't spend it. However the value to collectors because this specimen paper note is very rare, is very high indeed. At the moment, this particular note has a starting bid of US$1,999.00 and therefore the possibility that the actual buyer will be paying much more than this. I am a collector of Brunei currency notes but at this price level, I have to bow out. If you are bidding for it, all the very best of luck to you.