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Showing posts from October, 2012

45th Anniversary Brunei-Singapore Interchangeability Agreement

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As a collector of stamps, this is indeed fantastic news. New jointly issued stamps from Brunei and Singapore to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of the Brunei-Singapore Interchangeability Agreement. In simple language, this is the 45th year that Brunei and Singapore accepts each other's money at par. Anyway, the news is as follows as released by Singapore Post: +++++ Bandar Seri Begawan - To commemorate the longstanding diplomatic relations between Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, a joint stamp issue themed 45th Anniversary of Currency Interchangeability Agreement (CIA) will be released on November 27, 2012. This joint stamp issue celebrates the currency union between Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. Under the Currency Interchangeability Agreement (CIA) which took effect on June 12, 1967, each country undertakes to accept the currency issued by the other, and to exchange it at par and without charge, into its own currency. Forty-five years on, Singapore and Brunei continue to build…

We Are Human Just Like You

Attending an international meeting here in Incheon on disabled persons and listening to all the difficulties and speeches given by disabled persons, I was inspired. One sight impaired speaker said, 'I cannot see but I have a clear vision.' Suddenly I too have a clear vision about a poem which I dedicate to all the disabled persons out there. I have started a number of poems but I have never completed them. This is my first full completed poem and I am glad that it is on a worthwhile subject:


WE ARE HUMAN JUST LIKE YOUBy Rozan Yunos, Incheon 29 October 2012
We cannot see but we can perceiveWe cannot hear but we can understandWe cannot walk but we can moveWe cannot touch but we can feel
We need aid not sympathiesWe need rights not handoutsWe need understanding not pitiesWe need compassion not sorries
We are capable not incapableWe are competent not incompetentWe are disabled not unableWe are human just like you

Rights for Persons with Disabilities in Brunei

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Greetings from Sheraton Incheon Hotel in Incheon, Korea. By the time you read this, I will be starting the Senior Officials Segment of the High Level Inter-Governmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of the Disabled Persons 2003-2012 held by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UN-ESCAP). The meeting is held at Songdo Convensia which is next door to the Sheraton Incheon.

I will be making a presentation on behalf of Brunei of what we in Brunei have done and how we are making real the rights of persons with disabilities. For those interested in what we in Brunei have done, this is a very brief summary of Brunei's efforts (I am only given maximum 4 minutes as there are 53 nations who will be doing their presentations as well) which I will deliver:

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Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, let me congratulate and thank the Government of Republic of Korea for successfu…

Equal Rights for the Disabled

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By the time you read this, I will be on my way to Korea to attend this mouthful "High-Level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003-2012" organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission of Asia Pacific (UN-ESCAP) at the Songdo Convensia Convention Centre in Incheon, South Korea. The Senior Officials Meeting is from 29th to 31st October 2012 and the Ministerial Meeting is from 1st to 2nd November 2012.


The Meeting will be attended by Ministers and senior officials of governments, as well as civil society leaders from across Asia and the Pacific. The Meeting will consider measures to empower persons with disabilities and promote greater equality, particularly through the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)– the first disability-specific human rights treaty in the world.

The past ten years have seen substantial progre…

Stoning the Devils in Mina, Saudi Arabia

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Our Brunei pilgrims, not that many in number this year will be busy 'stoning the devils' rutual in Mina at the moment. Today's ritual is a lot easier to do as you get to throw pebbles at a huge wall but in the older days, the jumrahs were a lot smaller and a lot shorter too as these collection of old pictures of what the jumrahs used to look like before they become taller and wider testify:




Royal Call during Friday Prayers

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The Borneo Bulletin headline succintly says it all. For the full news of His Majesty's titah, here is The Brunei Times news about it:

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Friday, October 26, 2012 - HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday called for shops to close during the Friday prayers, in order to uphold the country's Islamic image and to prevent errant young muslims from skipping the obligatory weekly prayer.

In a titah delivered on the eve of the HariRayaAidilAdha celebrations, the monarch said that shops should close temporarily, from a "suitable" time of the day up until the Friday prayer has concluded.

Apart from being a portrayal of the country's image, the proposed closure would also discourage a "proportion" of muslim youths from loitering in and around shopping centres, at a time when other muslims were either at the mosques or making their way there.

"If this is allowed to continue, will it not tarnish the image of the country and ev…

Fond Memories of Haj Pilgrimage in Brunei

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One of the writers on Borneo Bulletin which I admired the most is Haji Mohd Daud Abd Rahman. In a way, I always considered him as my rival. He writes about old Brunei in Borneo Bulletin whereas I write about old Brunei in The Brunei Times. His writings are not as long as mine but he wins on photographs. He must have a lot of photographs in his collection. His latest writing about the Haj in Brunei was published in last week's Borneo Bulletin as follows:

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Fond Memories of Haj Pilgrimage in the Olden Days
by Haji Mohd Daud Abd Rahman


During the Haj season in the yesteryears, the old Customs Wharf (now BSB Waterfront) will be flooded with relatives and family members waiting since dawn for the arrival of the government ship carrying Haj pilgrims sailing from Labuan Island.

Disregarding the feelings of fatigue and tiredness, family members will wait patiently at the dock for hours on end for the arrival of the pilgrims. Some even went as far as waiting for the pilgrims using …

Salam Aidil Adha

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Halal Innovations in Brunei

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On 22nd October 2012, the Oxford Business Group had this economic update about Brunei:

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Brunei Darussalam: Halal Innovations

As an increasingly significant player in the rapidly expanding global halal market, Brunei is laying the groundwork for further industry growth by extending its reach across Asia and Latin America, while also encouraging product innovation.

The Sultanate has benefitted from its position as one of the early entrants in the international halal market, which today supplies approximately 1.8bn people worldwide and is estimated to be worth $2.3trn. Having launched the Brunei Halal brand in 2010, the Sultanate has since strengthened its reputation by becoming one of the few countries outside of the Middle East to establish an internationally recognised certifying body for the industry.

In April, Romleah Juliet P Ocampo, a representative from the Philippine’s Centre for International Trade Expositions and Missions, described Brunei Darussalam’s halal standards as th…

1st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women

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The first ever ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women was held on 19th October 2012 in Vientiane, Laos. With the exception of Malaysia, all the other ASEAN member states were represented by the Minister or Deputy Minister responsible for women affairs in their respective countries. Malaysia's current Minister is actually the Prime Minister, so it was not as easy for him to attend the meeting.

The Brunei Delegation for the 1st AMMW was led by YB Pehin Dato Hazair Abdullah, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. The "Vientiane Declaration on Enhancing Gender Perspective and ASEAN Women's Partnership for Environmental Sustainability" was issued by the Ministers after the meeting.

The 1st AMMW was preceeded by meetings at Senior Officials Level - the 11th ASEAN Committee on Women and the 4th ACW+3 Meetings. The Brunei Delegation for these meetings from 16th to 18th October was Haji Mohd Rozan, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

The official media st…

Elephant Money

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When I was going through the stalls in Vientiane, Laos I saw a number of vendors selling tiny little silver elephants. A set of five tiny elephants with its little plate were being sold depending on your bargaining expertise for between 250,000 to 300,00 Kips, Laotian currency. US$1 is worth about 7,597 Kips according to the exchange rate at the hotel and my officers told me that is about the same at the money changers. I bought a set of 5 tiny elephants at the hotel for US$40 which works out slightly expensive at about 320,000 Kips and no bargaining.
What I like about the tiny elephants were its historical values. I was told that these tiny elephants once served as the currency in the old days. I guess why not? Rather than minting coins, why not make elephants? Brunei in the past did the same thing too. Bruneians used even heavier metal and bigger models too. For those who do not know, small hand held cannons were once used as currencies in Brunei.

The other reason why Laotians go f…

Brunei's Superwater Exported

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Our Brunei companies do not export much outside Brunei. Whenever a local company managed to do that, we should all be proud of that achievement. I saw this news on The Brunei Times and I must share this: +++++ BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - LOCAL bottled water brand Rainfresh Super-Oxygenated Water will soon be available in Singapore, Malaysia, China and Romania following the signing of an international partnership deal between Superwater Marketing Sdn Bhd, the local producer, and foreign distributors yesterday.

After a five-year stint on the local market, Superwater Marketing, which produces Rainfresh, will be exporting the bottled water as part of the Rainfresh's expansion plan.

Superwater Marketing's managing director, Yong Teck Foo, said a 20-ft container of Rainfresh bottled water was shipped to Romania on October 12, the first Bruneian product of any description to be exported to the eastern European country.

A second shipment of bottled water to Malaysi…

Brunei in the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup

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Congratulations Brunei Football Team!

Brunei did very well in the qualifying round of the AFF Suzuki Cup recently completed in Yangon, Myanmar. We beat Cambodia (3-2) and Timor Leste (2-1) but lost out to Myanmar (0-1) and Laos (1-3). By beating Timor Leste, we prevented them from qualifying but allowing Laos to qualify instead. In the end, Myanmar ended up with 10 points, Laos 7 points and Brunei with Timor Leste only 1 point behind at 6 points and Cambodia propping up the table with no point.

Personally I don't see the point of having a qualfying round when there are only 10 + Timor Leste teams in the whole ASEAN. We could just have two groups of 5 and 6 and play directly in the ASEAN Football Championship. Unfortunately it is not for me to say. Perhaps it is just to make it more exciting.

For those who do not know what Brunei has been playing for, here is a short summary courtesy of Wikipedia:

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"The ASEAN Football Championship (AFF Championship), is a biennial inter…

Brunei from the eyes of Thailand

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The Nation, an English newspaper published in Thailand had an article Brunei published on 15th October 2012. The article entitled "Sultanate of Brunei - Another World" is written by Gerald W Fry, Distinguished International Professor, Department of Organisational Leadership, Policy and Development of the University of Minnesota, USA. This is the article:

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Sultanate of Brunei - Another World

 Among the Asean nations, Thai students and citizens know the least about Brunei. Few Thais, except for some diplomats and guestworkers, have ever been there.

 Though its majority people are similar to the Malays of both Indonesia and Malaysia, in other respects Brunei is an outlier, unlike other Southeast Asian countries in so many ways. First, it is very small in terms of both population (a little over 400,000) and land area, of only about 25 per cent of the province of Chiang Mai. It is about 75 per cent forest. The country is completely surrounded by the East Malaysian state of …

Lao PDR

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Greetings from Vientiane. Laos is the ninth ASEAN country that I have visited so far. Still on my list is Myanmar. I have not paid much attention to Laos until I knew I was coming here. As a country Laos is relatively a young country.

In fact throughout its history, Laos were ruled by the various local empires such as the Khmers from Cambodia. It was around the 14th century that a small kingdom called Lun Xang was founded by the Laotians. By the 16th century, it was threatened by Burma but by the 18th century, Lun Xang split into three regions and Siam forces occupied Vientiane and the other regions.

By the late 19th century, French influnce in the region grew and in 1893, the Siamese surrendered all territory east of the River Mekong to the French including today's Laos.

During the Japanese occupation in the second world war, parts of Laos were given to Thailand. The king declared independence from France after the War but France invaded the country in 1946 and were in control u…

ASEAN Committee on Women

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By the time you read this, I will be on my way to Vientianne, Laos to attend the 11th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW), followed by the 4th Meeting of the ACW+3 and finally the 1st ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Women (AMMW). What is the ACW?

According to the ASEAN Secretariat's website, this is the explanation as well as a short history of it:

ASEAN leaders recognise and reaffirm the importance of women and their participation in development. ASEAN Member Countries have been supportive of efforts to promote the status of women and have participated actively in the regional and international arena pertaining to women’s advancement.

Efforts towards establishing an ASEAN involvement, as a region, in women’s issues began during the ASEAN Women Leaders’ Conference held in 1975. The ASEAN Sub-Committee on Women (ASW) was established in 1976 and was renamed the ASEAN Women’s Programme (AWP) in 1981. To give a fresh impetus to the on-going ASEAN cooperation on women’s issues, …

National Youth Run 2012

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A week from today, on 21st October 2011, the National Youth Run or Larian Hari Belia 2012 will take place. This is always held in conjuction with the National Youth Day. The run will take place at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.

The run is open to all with a registration fee of $10. Those under 15 need to get a permission slip from their parents. There will be six categories - Adults Men and Ladies 10 km 19 to 40 years old, Youths Men and Ladies 5 km 15 to 18 years old, Special Needs 2.5 km and Fun Run of 2.5 km. Contact the Youth and Sports Department www.belia-sukan.gov.bn.


Chung Hwa Middle School - 90 Years Old

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Bandar Seri Begawan, 11th October 2012 - What started off as a modest beginning, Chung Hwa Middle School, Bandar Seri Begawan (CHMS) had only two teaching staff and 20 students back in 1922. Ninety years on, after accomplishing momentous milestones, battling against the tide of time, the journey of one of the oldest and largest Chinese private schools in the country is that to be proud of.

Its success story is translated to what it has become today; with a strong teaching force of 200 staff, and accommodating more than 3,000 students. Indisputably, as one of the oldest schools in the country, it has made a significant contribution to the country's education system as the system rapidly evolves into its glory as one of the best in the region today.

The idea of the school's formation was initiated by its founder, Ong Boon Pang with other few prominent figures in the Chinese community back in the 19th Century. In its early beginnings, the school operated on a very limi…

UBD Art Show at the Waterfront Art Gallery

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 Bandar Seri Begawan, 11th October 2012 - Seventy-eight paintings by undergraduates from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) are now on display at the Art Gallery, Waterfront in the capital.

The paintings are the product of the Art Retreat held at Taman Warisan Tasek Merimbun last June. The theme of the art exhibition is "A Glimpse into Tasek Merimbun Heritage Park".

The facilitators at the launching ceremony yesterday were Dr Haji Baharuddin bin Darus, Khalid bin Osman and Haji Ilham Rohadi bin Haji Mashud.

Haji Ilham Rohadi, Chief Officer of the Museums Department, said he hoped that the participants will continue to enhance the quality of their artwork.

The guest of honour was Awang Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

Twenty-one undergraduates from UBD received certificates of participation from Awang Haji Mohd Rozan who received a souvenir as a token of appreciation for launching the …

The Brunei Window Washer

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I was checking through the list of books about Brunei on amazon.com when I saw this book entitled "The Brunei Window Washer".

When I opened up the book using amazon's "click to look inside", it was a story about a Bruneian by the name of Chai working at a grand hotel in Brunei as a window washer. Of course it is not a true story but one that was made up and for what you may ask?

Since the book is written by James D Kirkpatrick and Wender Kayser Kirkpatrick, I checked their website at kirkpatrickpartners.com and these are the reasons why you must read the book:-

Every organization in the world faces the same challenge: How do we accomplish our highest goals with the time, money, resources and people available to us?

No matter how lofty the goal, achievement happens one person and one action at a time.

This book tells the endearing story of Chai, the Brunei Window Washer. Through his experiences, you will learn the secrets of developing a team that cares about th…

Alai Sekap - Brunei's Traditional Dances and Music Series

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Our Arts and Culture Division of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has been active in providing information about Brunei's Traditional Dances and Music on Facebook. To help disseminate the information further, I will be taking their posts and reposting it here. This is the second in the series about a dance from the Belait people:

ALAI SEKAP ialah nama sebuah tarian rakyaat puak Belait yang berasal dari Kuala Balai. Alai bererti tari dan sekap bererti dimasukkan kedalam. Fungsi tarian ini pada mulanya ialah sebagai menghibur keluarga yang sedang berduka kerana kematian, terutama kalangan keluarga penghulu puak dan ketua kampung.

Kayu atau alu adalah peralatan utama untuk tarian ini. 
Dua orang penari akan mengetukkan kayu itu dengan memegang kedua-kuda hujung kayu tersebut. Dalam masa yang sama seorang atau dua orang penari yang memakai sejenis tutup muka atau topeng, dengan baju compang-camping beraksi dengan memasukkan kaki, tangan dan badan mereka di antara kayu yang …

New Brunei International Airport 2014

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Bandar Seri Begawan, 06 October 2012

A foundation stone laying ceremony for the Modernisation Project of the Brunei International Airport was held this afternoon for the airport's new arrival/departure terminal building. Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister of Communications as the Guest of Honour at the ceremony held at the proposed site for the new Arrival/Departure Hall said that "by 2014 Brunei International Airport will be an iconic International Airport, prominent to the world with its Malay Muslim Monarch identity". The event commemorates the casting of one of the major columns supporting the massive roof for the new Arrival/Departure Hall.

Also present was Yang Mulia Dato Paduka Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Chairman of BEDB, Yang Berhormat Haji Awang Ahmad bin Haji Husin, Member of the Legislative Council, Yang Muli…

Ancayau - Brunei's Traditional Dances and Music Series

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Our Arts and Culture Division of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has been active in providing information about Brunei's Traditional Dances and Music on Facebook. To help disseminate the information further, I will be taking their posts and reposting it here. The first of the series is about Ancayau which is a dance from the Dusun people:

ANCAYAU IALAH nama sebuah tarian rakyaat yang berasal daripada puak Dusun. Ia ditarikan bagi tujuan bersuka ria dan berpesta. Gaya tarian ini menggambarkan pergerakan berburu dan penarinya memakai pakaian khas iaitu daripada kulit kayu timbaran, sementara dastar daripada jenis batik atau tenunan. Peralatan penting bagi mengiringi tarian ini ialah angkiring yang berupa sebatang rotan yang runcing di hujungnya berukuran panjang sedepa dan pada hujung rotan ini dipasangkan giring-giring daripada tembaga bertujuan untuk mengeluarkan bunyi.

Alatan lain ialah khalid iaitu sebuah perisai yang diperbuat daripada kayu. Penari utama akan memega…

Brunei's Presentation at 5th East Asia Ministerial Forum on Families

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Bandar Seri Begawan, 3 October 2012 - EXTENDED families are an ideal platform for inculcating positive values, said Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports during the Country Presentation Session of the 5th East Asia Ministerial Forum on Families (EAMFF).

"The extended family system provides the traditional support system and emphasises on interdependency and support among family members." Datin Paduka Hjh Adina Othman (pic) said in her presentation. "It provides a good environment for each family member to realise their responsibilities responsibilities as a parent, child, grandparent, aunt, uncle and so on."

She added that "It is an ideal platform for inculcating positive values. These are significant factors in upholding the family stability, strong community and cohesive society."

She said that in a close-knit community like Brunei, where family values are integral to the moral fabric of the Bruneian society, "We uphold the importance o…

5th East Asia Ministerial Forum on Families

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Bandar Seri Begawan, 2 October 2012 - The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah yesterday drew up the curtain for the 5th East Asia Ministerial Forum on Families (EAMFF).

The opening ceremony was held at the Indera Samudera Hall of The Empire Hotel & Country Club.

A total of 100 delegates from 13 countries comprising ministers and senior officers responsible on family affairs, including those of the host country Brunei Darussalam, will be attending the three-day forum.

Yesterday's opening ceremony began with the welcoming remarks by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Awg Hj Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, who noted that the ministerial forum acts as a sharing avenue on family issues.
It is also an opportunity for participants to generate ideas for establishing cooperative partnerships within the East Asia region, which is in line with its…