Kuala Belait and Seria in 1954

In 1954, Kuala Belait and Seria were considered as British Borneo's wealthiest area. The Borneo Bulletin recently did a reprint of a 1954 article about these two areas:

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DECEMBER 4, 1954 - These two special aerial pictures of (below) the oil town of Seria and (above) the commercial centre of Kuala Belait in Brunei State give a comprehensive idea of British Borneo's wealthiest area.

Aerial photo of Seria in 1954 (Photo: Borneo Bulletin)
The blocks of gleaming white buildings seen in the pictures are the recently completed Bazaars of Seria and Kuala Belait, which serve a population whose monthly pay packets run into many millions of dollars.

Aerial photo of Kuala Belait in 1954. (Photo: Borneo Bulletin)
Recognised by all business houses in British Borneo as the best trading area in this region, these two towns situated within seven miles of each other are today witnessing unprecedented expansion and modernisation as more roads are built, swamps reclaimed and buildings spring up in all directions ... stemming from the colossal oil revenues derived from the British Malayan Petroleum Company's ever-growing operations.

Mr E A Duffy, local manager of the North Borneo Trading Company Limited, whose offices are now housed in a modern building in the business area of Kuala Belait, described the general prosperity of this area and its vast potentialities in these words: "The Seria-Kuala Belait area is undoubtedly the best trading centre in British Borneo.

"Consider the enormous individual buying power of the European and Asian population in Seria alone."
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Comments

Trueheart said…
Great...so what happened???

KBians btw...
Borneo Bulletin promised there will be a series on the occasion of its 60th anniversary. So we wait for the next instalment.
Trueheart said…
Thanks, that's interesting. I do like to read more about my hometown.

Actually, my first comment up there was sarcasm. From BB articles, it seemed that KB and Seria had so much opportunity to develop.

Yet 60 years on, nothing much has changed. Yes, we have newer infrastructures, more companies, bigger population. Yet it's the same two blocks of old shops as were 30 years ago, the pasar was there since the 60s I think, there are glass patches (not park, mind you) in the middle of town, finally getting double-lane high way in these past 5 years, government staff houses and flats near town are 30 years old....how come?

Is it we don't have enough people there? Or was development fund channeled to BSB?

Tried asking daily commuters from Brunei-Muara who rather stay in Brunei-Muara and workers in KB and the answer seemed to be that KB and Seria don't have much to offer yet it is the heart of Brunei's export.

So that was my comment, what happened to a place that had so much yet achieved so little....

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