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Showing posts from July, 2012

Masjid Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Damit

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Residents in Kilanas was very lucky to have another mosque in the village. Though technically speaking the new mosque located at Bebatik Kilanas is a mosque for the Mukim and not for the village, but it does not matter, there are now two mosques in the village. Both are within 5 minutes drive from my house. Now I can hear the azan from both mosques but the new one is louder.

It is not as grand as the Ash-Sallehin Mosque opened the week before but it is still very nice. His Majesty consented to pray at the mosque last Friday. Here is The Brunei Times news report about it:

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday joined hundreds of congregants in the first Friday prayers at a newly-completed mosque, named after the monarch's late mother, in Mukim Kilanas.

Accompanying the Sultan at the Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Damit Mosque were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister …

Masjid Ash-Shaliheen, Brunei's Newest Mosque

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Brunei's newest mosque, Masjid Ash-Shaliheen is now open for use by the public. His Majesty consented to attend the first Friday prayer at the mosque on 13th July 2012 and signed a plaque. The mosque is located at Jalan Kumbang Pasang and is very near to the government's ministries and departments in the Jalan Menteri Besar area. The new Prime Minister's Office Building is very near the mosque.

From what can be seen during the televised telecast of the Friday prayer at the mosque, the design of the mosque is different compared to other mosque in Brunei Darussalam. It is based on the Moorish Andalusia architecture. It is the first mosque to have a retractable roof. Siti Hajar of Borneo Bulletin wrote a very eloquent piece of the mosque, and I am attaching it here. All the photos are sourced from Borneo Bulletin and Information Department.

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Ash-Shaliheen Mosque - A Sight to Behold
by Siti Hajar, Borneo Bulletin

Bandar Seri Begawan, 14th July 2012 - Amid the many awe-ins…

National Tragedy - The RBAF Helicopter Crash

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Yesterday afternoon, one of Royal Brunei Air Force helicopters, a Bell 212 crashed somewhere near Labi. By this morning, it was reported that 10 of the crew and passengers had died, two are injured and two still unaccounted for. In Facebook, a list of the names had been circulated but at that point in time, about half were still unaccounted for. His Majesty said it was a National Tragedy following close to last year's Bus Crash in Sabah which also killed several of our people. His Majesty had personally visited the hospital as well as the Royal Brunei Air Force base in Rimba.

The Bell helicopters are from the No 1 Squadron which is equipped with both Bell 212 and Bell 214ST. The primary roles of No 1 Squadron are trooplift, casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, fire suppression, VVIP lift, search and rescue. The Bell helicopters had also dealt with bushfires in the past.

Given that the helicopters had been in service for about three decades, it was not the first accident. Sometim…

His Majesty's Birthday Program Book - 4th set of photographs

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This is the 4th in the series of photographs from His Majesty's Birthday Program book. This set contained all His Majesty's sisters:






CSPS Newest Journal

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This is the latest journal from Brunei's Thinktank, Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS). I am a member of the Board and I have been lucky enough to get this third volume. This volume contained 4 articles:
The Dutch Disease Hypothesis: Evidence from the Gulf Cooperation Council written by Yazid Mahadi, an officer with the Ministry of Finance with a master's degree in economics from Cambridge;
Assessment of Forest Resources in Brunei Darussalam: A Remote Sensing Solution written by Dr Kazimierz Becek, currently teaching at University Brunei Darussalam, and holds two Doctorate degrees from Germany;
An Evaluation of Labour Market Policy Measures for Brunei Darussalam written by Koh Wee Chian, an Associate Researcher at CSPS with a master's degree in finance and economics from LSE;
Brunei Darussalam's Labour Market: Issues and Challenges written by Lufti Abdul Razak, a PhD in economics candidate at Warwick University.

If you want to know more about the journal …

His Majesty's Sons and Daughters

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This is the third set of photographs of members of the Brunei Royal Family as obtained from His Majesty's 66th Birthday Program Book. This one contained all the photographs of His Majesty's sons and daughters with the exception of the Crown Prince. The photos are as follows:











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This is the second set of photographs from His Majesty's 66th Birthday program book. This one contains the six photographs of His Majesty's three brothers, HRH Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Sufri Bolkiah, HRH Prince Jefri Bolkiah and their wives.







Voice of America: Brunei is an Arabic Country

I saw the following news digest by Voice of America:

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Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Brunei to Send Women to Olympics

Voice of America, Jul 13, 2012 - Move marks new chapter for three Arab countries which traditionally have been represented by male athletes only.

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I didn't know Brunei is an Arab country! When did we move? And when did our mostly Malay people suddenly became Arabic?

To be fair, I did read the full article and in the article there was no mention of Brunei being an Arab state. So where did the news digest get 'the three Arab countries'? Someone obviously have not done their homework.

At this point, it would be typical to bring in many other examples of American ignorance. From my experience of staying in America for a year, if you watch the news, there would hardly be any foreign news. There are so many things happening in America, be it politic, sports etc, that it would have to be something extraordinary happening elsewhere outside America would it make the…

His Majesty Birthday Honours

My congratulations to all the people who were awarded State Orders by His Majesty on the occasion of His Majesty's birthday on 15th July 2012 especially to my fellow Permanent Secretaries as follows:

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Darjah Pahlawan Negara Brunei Yang Amat Perkasa Darjah Pertama (PSPNB) which carries the title of Dato Seri Pahlawan to:

Awang Bahrin bin Mohd Noor (Deputy Commissioner of Police);

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Darjah Seri Paduka Mahkota Yang Amat Mulia Darjah Pertama (SPMB) which carries the title of Dato Seri Paduka to:

Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Musa bin Haji Aman, (Chief Minister of Sabah)

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Darjah Setia Negara Brunei Yang Amat Bahagia Darjah Kedua (DSNB) which carries the title of Dato Setia to:

Dato Paduka Samuel Yapp Kai San (Chairman of the Clinical Service Committee for RIPAS Hospital)

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Darjah Seri Laila Jasa Yang Amat Berjasa Darjah Kedua (DSLJ) which carries the title of Dato Seri Laila Jasa to:

Mr Kozo Watanabe (Brunei-Japan Friendship Association);
Mr Toshihiro Nikai (Brunei-Japan Friend…

His Majesty's Birthday Program Book

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Every year during His Majesty's Birthday, there will be two program books. One will be filled with all the activities that will be carried out from the morning of the birthday. The other one, a very much thicker volume and weighs around 2 kilograms (my best guess) is filled with photographs of the royal family and all the events in pictures and texts of everything that happened which involved His Majesty from the end of his previous birthday.


This book is very popular as many people want to see the latest photographs of the members of the Royal Family. For the 2012 edition, there are 41 members and I thought that I will scan the photos and put them up here. I have been wanting to do this many times previously but I just never got round to scanning the various photographs.

The first 4 of the 41 photographs are His Majesty, Her Majesty, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and his wife:




66th Birthday Gifts from His Majesty

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When you attend someone's birthday party, it is customary to bring a birthday gift. However there is someone's birthday party that you do not have to bring a gift. In fact you will get one or in this case several gifts.

The 66th Birthday celebration of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam is one such birthday party that you will receive gifts. His Majesty in his Birthday speech announced several gifts:

(1) The government will not impose land premium for the renewal of land lease not exceeding one acre where on such land stands a house of the owner or one to be built - this means that if your land is a leased land (usually 55 years ownership) and when the lease expired and you want to renew the lease, you do not have to pay for the renewal as long as the land has your house on it and the land is less than an acre, this will save you from around $10,000 to $100,000 depending on the location, condition and size of the land;

(2…

Brunei's Orders and Decorations

On Sunday, 15th July 2012, His Majesty will be awarding a number of deserving people with Orders and Decorations. I have written about this in the past, here is one which I did in 2010 about Brunei's Orders and Decorations.

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THE GOLDEN LEGACY

Brunei’s Orders and Decorations

There are still many people who do not know how the titles of Pengiran Cheterias or Pehin Menteris are awarded. Some even confusing them with the awards of Orders and Decorations handed out annually by His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam during his Birthday Celebrations. Many confused them with the Malaysian system.

In Malaysia, an award made by the Federal Government, may entitled one to be called a Tun or a Tan Sri. For instance, an award of the Order of Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara, First Class will entitled one to be called a Tun and carry the designation of SMN behind one’s name. An award of the Second Class of the same Order allows one to carry the title Tan Sri a…

Are Brunei Women's Pay 3rd Highest in World?

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Someone asked me the other day that how come our Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in her statement at the recent APEC Forum on Women in St Petersburg, Russia stated that Brunei women ranked 3rd highest in the world in terms of pay. He said that he thought there will be other countries earning more and that women in Brunei may not be earning that high as there is not enough of them in the top echelon either in government or private sector. He asked me to clarify as I was at the Forum too.

What the Deputy Minister said in St Petersburg was this: "In terms of female receiving equal pay, the global gender report, Brunei Darussalam ranks twenty-ninth (29th) and in Estimated Earned Income we rank third (3rd) in the world."

The Brunei Times headlined the news "Brunei women third highest paid in the world" on 4th July 2012. The last I checked the internet, this headline went round the world.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2011 which you can get from The World Econom…

The National Archives Postcard of Brunei Historical Photographs Part 3

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This is the final three of the nine postcard set issued by the Brunei National Archives. These are photographs of Brunei taken from the 1940s to 1970s.



The Brunei National Archives Historical Photographs Postcards Part 2

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The Brunei National Archives recently released a set of nine postcards showing historical photographs of Brunei in its collection. Here is the second set of three postcards.



The National Archives Historical Photographs Postcards Part 1

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The Brunei National Archives recently launched a set of postcards consisting of historical photographs in its collection. The photographs are from the 1940s to 1970s. The publication of the postcards is aimed to promote The National Archives collection as a custodian of national and historical heritage as well as resource and research centre.
There are altogether nine postcards in the collection. I don't know how much the whole set cost but it is not too expensive. Here are the first three of the postcards.


Brunei's New Butterfly Garden

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I was away in St Petersburg, Russia when the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports officially opened the Butterfly Garden at the Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park. I had known about the park project ever since I joined the Ministry in October 2011 and I am really happy that it is finally open. For those of you who want to go there, all you have to do is drive all the way to Tasek Merimbun or if you want more information, call the Butterfly Centre at 4269179.



The following is Borneo Bulletin's reporting of the opening of the Butterfly Garden.

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Wednesday, 4th July 2012, Bandar Seri Begawan - The newly opened Butterfly Garden, which is part of the Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park and located close to the Tasek Merimbun Gallery Hall, provides visitors the experience of witnessing the interesting interaction between butterfly species and the shrubberies surrounding them, which is symbiotic to their lifecycles.

Since 1996, the Department of Museums has collected over 300 species of butterfl…

Bruneiains at St Petersburg, Russia

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This is the complete Brunei Darussalam delegation that attended the APEC Women and the Economy Forum which was from 28th to 30th June 2012 at St Petersburg, Russia. This Brunei Darussalam group is actually made up of the official Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports delegation and the Brunei Women Business Council. The delegation is led by Datin Paduka Hajah Adina, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.