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The First Dutch Visit to Brunei in 1600

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It has been a while since I last wrote an article for my column, The Golden Legacy in The Brunei Times. I finally found the time to write this one entitled 'The First Dutch Visit to Brunei in 1600' and it was published on Sunday, December 22, 2013.


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The First Dutch Visit to Brunei in 1600 by Rozan Yunos

ON December 26, 1600, four hundred and thirteen years ago, people in Brunei saw two ships with Dutch crewmen sailing into the Brunei Bay. They were the remnants of a Dutch fleet of four ships which had set out two years earlier on September 1, 1598, from Rotterdam trying to circumnavigate the world.

The fleet was originally made up of two vessels, the Mauritius, the Hendrick Frederick and two smaller yachts, the Hope and the Eendracht. The Mauritius was captained by Oliver van Noort who financed two of the four vessels and the other two were financed by an Amsterdam syndicate. The other three captains were Pieter Calesz, Jan Huydecooper and Pieter Esias de Lindt.

By the year…

The Administration of the Law and Justice in Brunei before the British Part V

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The Borneo Bulletin on December 7, 2013 continued with BA Hussaimiya's article on the Legal History of Brunei Darussalam.

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Shifting sands of Brunei history: Issues of genealogy & chronology Posted date: December 07, 2013 In: Features

B A Hussainmiya PhD

(Continuation of ‘On the travails of writing Brunei’s early history and the Boxer Codex’, published on Page 44 of the November 30, 2013 edition of the Weekend Bulletin)

ALTHOUGH Brunei’s official history scarcely refers to the 16th century Boxer Codex, its many revelations significantly buttress the fact that Islam originated much earlier than some Western writers like Father Robert Nicholl opines. According to him, the date of Islam in Brunei is somewhat coterminous with the advent of the Europeans in the early 16th century.

The problem of early Brunei historiography is not confined to the date of the coming of Islam only. Still some confusion prevails as to the chronology of the early Brunei Sultans as well. The conventi…

The Administration of the Law and Justice in Brunei before the British Part IV

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In the Borneo Bulletin 30th November 2013 this 4th article on the Legal History of Brunei written by Professor Hussainmiya.

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On the Travails of writing Brunei’s early history and the Boxer Codex
Posted date: November 30, 2013 In: Features
B A Hussainmiya PhD

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*Continuation of ‘Significance of ‘Boxer Codex’ for legal history of Brunei’, published on Page 16 of the November 23, 2013 edition of the Weekend Bulletin

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AS EXPLAINED last week, the 16th century Spanish manuscript of the Boxer Codex holds great significance for a study of early history of Brunei. But there must be a word of caution here. Historians do not necessarily rely upon a single primary source. They look for corroborative evidence from other sources as well. Unlike the historians of modern times, the historians of ancient and medieval periods face insurmountable challenges. They don’t have the advantages of modern day historians who will have abundant resources at their disposal, and sometimes require sele…

The World Culture Forum, Bali 24 - 27th November 2013

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I was a participant of the inaugural World Culture Forum in Indonesia recently. The WCF's main aim was to be like the Davos World Economic Forum and the RIO International Environment Forum but in culture. It ended on 27th November 2013. The World Culture Forum in Indonesia reported the following news:

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World Culture Forum closes in Indonesia

BALI, Indonesia, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The World Culture Forum ( WCF) was closed on Tuesday afternoon with a joint commitment document that calls for measurable, effective role and integration of culture at all levels in the post-2015 development agenda.


The conclusion of the inaugural WCF event was conducted by Indonesian National Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh at Bali International Convention Center (BICC).

According to the document of Bali Promise, participants promised to seek new modality for the valuing and measuring of culture in sustainable developments, developing accountable ethical framework for evidence-based measures o…

Brunei's Sustainable Development Through Culture

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The Borneo Bulletin on 27th November 2013 reported on the following news about Culture being an important agenda in a nation's sustainable development which was stated by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports at the inaugural World Culture Forum in Bali.

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CULTURE is an important agenda in a nation’s sustainable development as it can address poverty, unemployment and sustainable development.

At the regional and international levels, diverse cultural linkages, understanding and appreciation as well as exchanges can further foster cooperation thus contributing to regional and global peace, stability and sustainable development.

This was highlighted by the Minister Of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah, at the inaugural World Culture Forum, in Bali, a press release stated.

Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Hazair stressed the importance of both hard and soft culture in gearing towards sustaina…

The Historic Kampong Penchalap

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My friend, Haji Mohd Daud Abdul Rahman, a prolific writer about Brunei on Borneo Bulletin wrote this recently about Kampong Penchalap and their renown Tudung Dulang. I did not about Kampong Penchalap until he wrote this article and published it in Borneo Bulletin on 23 November 2013 as follows:

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Historic Kampong Penchalap Renown For Tudung Dulang by Haji Mohd Daud Abdul Rahman

 A ‘TUDUNG dulang’ is a traditional food covering weaved from Nipah leaves. Kampong Penchalap was a village renowned for making tudung dulang. This kampong was located opposite Kg Tamoi and Kg Pengiran Tajuddin Hitam at the site of where Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah Mosque stands today.

According to old stories, residents of Kampong Penchalap were very skilled in weaving Nipah leaves to produce a variety of household items including ‘tudung dulang’ (tudung segi), ‘takong’, ‘telaya’, ‘lakar’ and ‘bayong’. These items were used for daily activities such as making salted fish, stor…

Administration of the Law and Justice in Brunei before the British Part III

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Significance of 'Boxer Codex' for Legal History of Brunei
by BA Hussainmiya, PhD

THE 19th century Brunei may have given the impression to the visiting Westerners as a weak state with a fledgling legal system. But it was not so during Brunei’s halcyon days in the 16th century; the vibrant Sultanate practised a rather sophisticated and model system of justice.

The definitive proof comes from an authentic Spanish manuscript dated 1588 CE  referred to nowadays as the ‘Boxer Codex’ which is by far the best source that portray the workings of Brunei penal system, the courts, the forms of law, and the punishments meted out to various offences including theft, murder, adultery and so on.

The description of the legal situation indicates that the Brunei’s justice system was home grown probably through a multitude of influences.

Firstly, it derived from Hindu-Buddhist, a legacy of its original Majapahit connections having used the Laws of Manu from India, a feature common in most contemp…

Building an Asean identity

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Borneo Bulletin on 21st November 2013 reported the following:

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“THE culture and information sectors in Southeast Asia need to do more to build an Asean identity.”

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos said at the 48th Meeting of the Asean Committee on Culture and Information (COCI), one of the oldest institutions of Asean. The event took place at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Berakas.

“The goal here is to connect our people beyond borders, bridge cultural gaps and articulate the benefits of regional integration as we move towards the establishment of the Asean Community in 2015. Leaders accordingly have tasked all three Asean Community Councils to emphasise their efforts to relevant sectors, people and stakeholders – including through traditional, mainstream and new media. In this respect, they look forward to the early finalisation of the Asean Communication Master Plan,” he said.

The per…

Administration of Law and Justice in Brunei before the British Part II

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Why did Westerners look down upon Brunei's judiciary during 19th century? BA Hussainmiya, Borneo Bulletin 16 November 2013

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Continuation of ‘Administration of law, justice in Brunei before coming of the British’, published on Page 18 of the November 9, 2013 edition of the Weekend Bulletin

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ANY historical analysis of pre-colonial Brunei laws of must refer to two opposing points of view- the first is an idealistic one favoured by the local experts while the other is a negative one expressed by colonialist administrators.

Several local scholars paint a romanticist yet an uncritical view of Brunei’s laws as being in force in the old Sultanate. Thus there is much emphasis laid on the significance of a legal compendium such as Hukum Kanun Brunei and Syariah laws in addition to Adat laws (customary laws) as sources for resolving disputes of various offences involving civil and criminal cases.

Although, these studies are valuable, needless to say that the idealistic presentation …

Tasek Lama 1960s

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My friend, Haji Mohd Daud Abdul Rahman was remiscing about the Tasek Lama in the 1950s in The Borneo Bulletin 17 November 2013.

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Once serene Tasek Lama now a recreational spot by Haji Mohd Daud Abdul Rahman

TASEK Lama is located about two kilometres from Bandar Seri Begawan’s city centre. Back then, Tasek Lama was not as easily accessible as it is today. People would have to brave the dense jungle to make their way to Tasek Lama. In 1957, people especially youths would go to Tasek Lama in groups.

The trek to Tasek Lama would take 30 minutes and along the way, visitors would face various obstacles such as muddy pathways, thick vegetation and fallen branches. However, once they reach their destination, visitors were rewarded for their efforts with the natural beauty of the surroundings accentuated by the cascading waterfall.




The water was a striking green colour and fell off the top of the waterfall at an impressive rate. Visitors would relax and admire nature’s beauty. The familiar s…

Administration of Law and Justice in Brunei before the British Part I

Administration of Law, Justice in Brunei Darussalam before coming of the Britsh B A Hussainmiya, Borneo Bulletin 9 November 2013

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IN VIEW of my involvement with Brunei historical topics, many people have been asking me to furnish some ideas about the historical antecedents of legal system and practice in Brunei in the ancient and medieval periods. With some trepidation, I have taken courage in this series to fulfil my obligation as a historian to delve into a grey area with the hope that other scholars will be able to add or amend my observations on the implementation of Adat (Customary), Kanun and Syariah laws in Brunei in the olden times. At the outset I must reiterate that fact that I claim no expertise in any aspect of Syariah Law whatsoever, and this paper is not going to focus on the intricacies of Islamic Laws as such. This is going to be an exercise in historical outline to what went on in the area of legal practice in the old kingdom of Brunei since its legendary founding…

Renewable Energy in Brunei

On 3rd November 2013, the Oxford Business Group reported the following news for Brunei:

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Economic Update
Brunei Darussalam sharpens focus on renewable energy
Brunei Darussalam | 3 Nov 2013

While abroad Brunei Darussalam might be best known for its substantial hydrocarbons reserves, at home authorities are turning their attention to more “green” forms of energy, including solar. However, compared to some of its South-east Asian neighbours, the Sultanate has set more modest goals and has been slower to develop alternatives to oil and gas.

Selling power to the national grid

In September, the minister of energy, Pehin Dato Yasmin Umar, announced a plan to introduce a feed-in tariff scheme to promote the use of solar power, which will allow individuals and businesses to sell the electricity they generate back to the national energy firm.

Speaking at the opening of a workshop on policies, feed-in tariff frameworks and best practices for grid-connected solar photovoltaic projects on September 9…

The Brunei Labs for Growth

On 7 October 2013, the Oxford Business Group reported the following on Brunei Darussalam:

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Economic Update
Brunei Darussalam looks to its labs for growth
Brunei Darussalam | 7 Oct 2013

Increased investment in research and development (R&D), combined with targeting niche markets, are two cornerstones of a strategy being rolled out by Brunei Darussalam aimed at encouraging economic diversification.

The country has long had a commitment to expanding R&D, with the government announcing in 2011 that it intended to step up spending to 1% of GDP. At the time, the government identified the sultanate’s rich biodiversity and educated workforce as key factors in promoting domestic R&D and attracting overseas investors to partner in projects. Under the 10th National Development Plan, launched in 2012, greater emphasis was given to promoting innovation, with funding increased and a focus on using R&D to create marketable products.

The state is moving to meet its commitments, accordin…

The History of Kampong Parit in Bandar Seri Begawan

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In the 28 September 2013 issue of The Borneo Bulletin, my friend Haji Mohd Daud Abd Rahman wrote about the history of Kampong Parit. This is not the Kampong Parit in Limau Manis but rather Kampong Parit at Mile 2 of Jalan Tutong or now known as Jalan Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha. One of the photographs is that of the graves at today's Makam Kubah Diraja which in the 1950s were still uncovered.

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The History of Kampong Parit
by Haji Mohd Daud Abd Rahman

HAJI Ghani bin Bidal, aged 87, a resident of Kampong Sumbiling Lama, Kampong Parit shared the origin and history of Kampong Parit, which was initially located at Batu Satu, Jalan Tutong, along the road leading up to Kubah Makam Diraja. Haji Ghani also added that Istana Sultan and residences of the royal family used to be situated in Kampong Parit. In fact, the pillar of Istana Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin can still be seen at Kubah Makam Diraja.

Prior to Brunei’s independence in 1984, the cliff area of Sungai Kedayan including the ho…

Brunei TV in the 1970s

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This article was published in The Borneo Bulletin on 27th July 2013. +++++ Brunei TV in the 1970s written by Haji Mohd Daud Abd Rahman

TV BRUNEI began its trial broadcast in 1974 airing programmes to the whole country. It was the first to broadcast in full-colour in Asia and in 1975 after a one year trial, TV Brunei was officially launched. It began producing its own programmes which included entertainment, drama, and religious as well as programmes for children.

One of the most fondly remembered programmes for children was the “Cerita Bersama Kanak-Kanak” programme.

The show would feature stories about fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan.


Children from primary schools would be invited to the RTB studio for the recording. Among those that had been on the show included Pg Fatimah and her brother Ak Yusafry.

Ak Yusafry recalled being brought to a room in Studio 1 to record his voice for the programme. The show was aired throughout the month of Ramadhan just before Sungkai.

After the sh…

Youths Want To Work for Government

This is an interesting piece of news from The Brunei Times published on 13th August 2013:

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Brunei youths prefer to work for gov't over entrepreneurship, research shows

Debbie Too
The Brunei Times
Publication Date : 13-08-2013

A recent study conducted by three lecturers from the Universiti Brunei Darussalam showed that youth that were interviewed still preferred to work for the government than be entrepreneurial.

A total of 1,051 students from eight secondary schools between the ages of 18 and 23 years old took part in the survey and found that 67.2 per cent of respondents preferred to work as government employees, while only 8.8 per cent of respondents wanted to work in the private sector. A total of 208 students, or 19.8 per cent, of respondents chose to become business owners.

It was found that the option to work for the government was mainly because of the stable employment, fixed income and job security. Those who opted to become business owners said that they preferred …