Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Snags to Brunei Tourism

The Oxford Business Group reported the following on 24 April 2013:

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Brunei Darussalam: Infrastructure snags to boosting tourist numbers
Asia | 24 Apr 2013

Having begun to roll out a tourism master plan that puts the spotlight on natural and cultural assets, Brunei Darussalam is targeting an 8% increase in visitor numbers this year.

Under the plan, which will be introduced in stages, the Sultanate aims to revive areas of historical significance, while also drawing visitors to its islands and nature reserves. A drop of five places in a major international survey has served to highlight the challenges the tourism industry faces, which include infrastructure deficiencies and low levels of foreign investment.

On March 1, the Tourism Development Board (TDB) said it planned to attract 260,000 visitors this year, up from the 241,426 who visited the Sultanate in 2012. The announcement came after the ministry confirmed last September that its 2011-15 Tourism Master Plan had been finalised.

The TDB’s acting director, Mariani Hj Sabtu, told the Brunei Times that the initiatives would not be launched simultaneously, “but rather over time and in comprehensive packages”. The plan is divided into two clusters, with one focusing on natural assets and culture, while the second will deal with heritage and the emerging segment of Islamic tourism.

The projects include plans to upgrade museums, establish a handicraft centre, build a sanctuary for proboscis monkeys and train tour guides. Additional initiatives that are earmarked for the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawa, include the construction of an “Airport Hub”. Under the plans, retail streets and commercial areas will be built near Brunei International Airport, while the historic area of Kampong Ayer, otherwise known as the Water Village, has been earmarked for restoration.

Other ventures include a “Discover Brunei” smartphone app that was launched last year. Coded by a local software firm, the app has 12 sections which provide information about where to stay, shop and eat in the Sultanate. In March, the company, MeSixty, also launched an app on diving in the Sultanate which features contact details for operators and photos of local dive sites.

Travel and tourism was directly responsible for BD370m ($299m), or 1.8%, of Brunei’s GDP in 2012, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council in March. The council forecast the sector’s contribution to rise by 0.6% in 2013 and increase 3.9% annually to reach BD547m ($442m) in 2023. The WTTC also noted that the industry indirectly and directly provided employment for around 5500 people last year, adding that it expected the number to reach 7000 in the next decade.

While the tourism sector has been allocated a total annual budget of $6.4m, the country is keen to boost foreign investment in its bid to drive growth in the industry.

A move to set up a planned regional ASEAN body for tourism professionals could prove useful for the Sultanate in its efforts to attract new investors if it is chosen as the location for the new secretariat, Mariani said. The organisation will be involved in a number of processes related to the sector, such as the ASEAN Tourism Professional Registration System. The TDB’s acting director told the Brunei Times she was confident that Brunei could garner added credibility and a new level of professionalism which would, in turn, help promote FDI, if the country is given the opportunity to house the secretariat.

However, while its plans for the industry are moving forward, the Sultanate recently dropped to 72nd place on the list of 140 countries featured in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) latest “Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index”, released in March. Brunei Darussalam performed poorly in the “cultural resources”, “prioritisation of travel and tourism” and “environmental sustainability” categories, the WEF noted.

In their efforts to promote Brunei Darussalam, tourism chiefs are keen to draw visitors to its places of interest, especially the mangrove-covered islands, white-sand beaches and accessible nature reserves. They also hope to attract more divers to the shallow reefs.

However, critics say the Sultanate will first need to tackle key infrastructure and human resource deficiencies. Last December, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in its Tourism Working Group (TWG) report cited both issues as major obstacles to tourism growth. “Poor public transport services and limited aviation connectivity are the key infrastructure issues in Brunei Darussalam, with improved policies regarding landing rights seen as one of the potential solutions,” the report noted.

Connectivity was reduced last year when the national carrier, Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA), cut flights to Australia and New Zealand to concentrate on its three primary long-haul destinations of Melbourne, Dubai and London. “We have had to refocus and restructure the organisation, resulting in a slimmed down, much more efficient RBA,” Dermot Mannion, deputy chairman, told Travel and Tourism News Middle East last October.

APEC said tight restrictions on business visas had led to a need for increased visa-on-arrival facilities in Brunei Darussalam. It also criticised limits on foreign ownership of tourism businesses, which it said were affecting the industry. By loosening restrictions and offering more incentives for both foreign and domestic private sector players, the government could pave the way for tourism to play a greater part in the economy.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Decline in Reading Habits in Brunei

DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT CONTRIBUTES TO DECLINE IN READING HABITS

Bandar Seri Begawan, 23 April 2013 - THE Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Hj Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, has expressed his concern on the contemporary obsession by youths in the digital entertainment, contributing to the lack of passion in the habit of reading in this country.

This would lead to many of them dependent on information acquired from the social media, he said at the Library Open Day for the World Book Day 2013 held at PTE Katok yesterday.



Accentuating on the importance of books and reading, Hj Mohd Rozan said the habit of reading has the empowerment to enhance the knowledge and sharpen the mind that will lead to the development of a nation, suited to the principles laid out in the MIB philosophy.The culture of reading should be an obligatory component in our lives, he added, and the role it plays is significant in enhancing our knowledge and moulding the civilisation within a nation.

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports also stated the role his ministry played, with libraries and mobile libraries in operation, reading corners in longhouses and libraries in Mukims under the Mukim Buku project.

The Director of Language and Literature Bureau (DBP), Dyg Hjh Aminah bte Hj Momin in her welcoming address said the theme of this year’s Library Open Day ‘Books the Source of Knowledge in My Life’ is aptly chosen to create a sense of importance in book reading amongst the community. She expressed her hope that the role of libraries will be elevated and will pave the right direction towards achieving Brunei Vision 2035.

The guests were earlier welcomed by Principal of PTE Katok, Hjh Rosni binti Hj Mohd Amin.

Prizes were also presented by Hj Mohd Rozan to students and participants in various categories that included essay writing and book cover drawing.

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --

Monday, April 22, 2013

Brunei Darussalam The Abode of Wealth

Xinhuanet posted the following news about Brunei on 22 April 2013:

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Brunei Darussalam The Abode of Wealth

by Xia Ziyi

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Negara Brunei Darussalam, officially the Nation of Brunei, is a tiny Southeast Asian country you can barely spot on a map.

Regardless its tiny territory and small population, Brunei is often trotted out as an ideal Islamic state -- stable and prosperous, and with an educated and moderate Muslim society generally enjoying a high quality of life.

The sultanate has the second highest Human Development Index among the Southeast Asia nations after Singapore, and is classified as a developed country. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) puts Brunei in the fifth place around the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita at purchasing power parity. The IMF also stated in a 2011 estimate that Brunei was one of two countries (the other being Libya) with their public debt at 0 percent of the national GDP.

The state is most famous for its bounty of oil and gas, which has fueled its economy for the past 75 years and beyond. Striking growth rates, averaging 56 percent during 1999-2008, transformed it into a newly developed country and ensured all Bruneians a secure life.

The enviable amenities include no taxes, free health care, free education, free pension, free trips to the holy city of Mecca, and subsidized houses, cars and gasoline, among others.

Taxi, a common transport means in most capital cities around the world, is seldom seen in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei's capital. According to the latest official figure, there are around 40 taxis in whole Brunei, as every household has more than two cars on average.

However, all the secular stuff in the country mingles well with tradition and religion. The law of the land is rooted in Quranic teachings, which permit a man to have up to four wives and demand women to wear hijab, though hijabs here are much more fashionable and colorful than their peers in the Middle East.

Mosque, a place of worship for Muslim Bruneians, is apparently the defining landmark in Bandar Seri Begawan. It's said that if you were to close your eyes and walk in any direction, the odds are the first thing you'd bump into might be a mosque.

Not to mention that the mosques look so amazing against the backdrop of a clear sky. The centerpiece of Bandar Seri Begawan is the royal Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, and it is nothing less than gorgeous.

Named after Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the 28th Sultan of Brunei, the mosque as a symbol of the Islamic faith dominates the skyline of the capital. The building was completed in 1958 and is considered one of the most beautiful mosques in the world.

Besides marble minarets and lush gardens full of fountains, the mosque's most recognizable feature, the main dome, is coated in gold, which makes every visitor whoop and gasp at its deluxe beauty.

For all the attractions Brunei can offer, one thing is short of appealing -- the country has no nightclub, no tacky bar and no shop that sells liquor, enough for barflies and those seeking romantic rendezvous to think twice before coming.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Return of Brunei Youth Heroes

LOCAL RUNNER AT TOUGHEST FOOTRACE RETURNS HOME

BRUNEI Darussalam’s first two participants at the Marathon des Sables (MdS) – inarguably the ‘toughest footrace on earth’ – Hamsul Sulaiman and Ahmad Fathi Junaidi – returned home safely midnight yesterday, after successfully completing the gruelling 250-kilometre annual race, held in the Southern Moroccan Sahara Desert.

Present to greet them upon arrival was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Awang Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, as well as friends and families who cheered and congratulated the brave men’s return.


The arrival of the runners was greeted by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (2L), as well as family members and friends. – SYAFIQ AFFENDY

The duo, sponsored by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam Berhad (BIBD), completed the race with Hamsul finishing at 959th position with a time of just over 69 hours and 13 minutes whilst his compatriot, Fathi achieved a position of 778th, taking about 51 hours 47 minutes to finish the race. In total, the MdS attracted about 1198 participants, whilst just fewer than 60 people did not manage to finish the gruesome race.

The MdS was held over seven days and in six stages, where the participants in the Marathon des Sables will have to survive across 155 miles (250 km) equivalent to running 5½ marathons.

Hamsul mentioned that it was a real challenge for the body and mind, as they had to endure nose bleeds, blisters on swelling feet, whilst battling diarrhoea and vomit.

“We also had to deal with the rocky, sandy terrain while tolerating 50 degrees Celsius temperature throughout. Low humidity also kept us dehydrated, making it a must for us to take salt tablets every hour,” he said.

Ahmad Fathi further reiterated their challenges during the quick interview with the Bulletin, where the food that they brought along to refuel their bodies throughout the race were insufficient, where they had only lived off on energy bars and frozen-dried food specially ordered just for the race.

Earlier in this month, BIBD gave its full support to their MdS runners, in the shared belief of being able to achieve anything with passion, determination and discipline.

The effort was hoped to raise awareness and to inspire others in achieving their own personal milestones as well as to raise funds for BIBD’s ALAF (Advocating Life-Long Learning for an Aspiring Future) Programme.

Awang Haji Mohd Rozan said in an interview with the Bulletin, that the completion of the race by Hamsul and Fathi shows what Brunei’s youth are capable of, as they registered for the race on their own initiatives, with their own determination and they completed the race despite having to run in the hot desert while carrying their supplies.

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --

Friday, April 19, 2013

More New Road Names for Brunei

Berakas, 17 April 2013 - THE Survey Department announced new and amended names for roads in the Brunei-Muara District, approved through the National Committee of Geographical Names (JKNG).

The list and information of new names and amended names for main roads within the Jalan Daerah Brunei-Muara District are as follows.

Tungku Highway is the name of the road starting from Interchange Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (SHHB) Highway in front of Kg Menglait towards the highway T-junction in front of Muara-Tutong Highway.

Rimba Highway starts from the Second Interchange of Tungku Highway in front of the traffic light, and leading towards the Rimba National Housing area until towards the T-junction in front of Muara-Tutong Highway.

Jalan Rakyat Jati Rimba is the name of the road at STKRJ Tungku that start from the traffic light leading towards the T-junction, Jalan Gadong.

Gadong Estate Road is the name of the road beginning at Kg Pangkalan Gadong besides the International Airport runway until the T-junction, Jalan Gadong.

Terunjing Main Road is the name of the road beginning at Rimba Highway traffic light and towards Jalan Berakas and all the way to the intersection in front of Jalan Pasir Berakas.

Jalan Pasir Berakas starts from the traffic light in front of Berakas Main Road all the way to the main entrance of RBAF.

Jalan Utama Berakas starts from Airport roundabout in front of Berakas Secondary School until the Muara-Tutong Highway traffic light.

Jalan Utama Tanah Jambu starts from T-Junction in front of Jalan Muara until Muara-Tutong Highway traffic light.

Jalan Masjid Salambigar starts from T-junction in front of Jalan Muara until the first roundabout at Lambak Kanan National Housing area, in front of the mosque.

Jalan Utama Salambigar starts from T-Junction of the traffic light in front of Jalan Muara until the T-Junction of the traffic light in front of Jalan Utama Mentiri.

Jalan Utama Mentiri starts from T-junction in front of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports building until the T-junction of the traffic light in front of Jalan Mentiri.

Meanwhile, the list and information of new names and amended names at Meragang and Tanah Jambu National Housing Area, Brunei-Muara District, are mentioned below.

Jalan Tanjung Sunting starts at Muara-Tutong Highway T-junction (entering Meragang Sixth Form Centre) until towards the first roundabout (entering from Muara-Tutong highway).

Jalan Wasai Limuru starts from the first roundabout in front of Tanjung Sunting Road towards the second roundabout in front of Jalan Binglu and all the way to third roundabout at Jalan Bukit Kebun until the fourth roundabout in front of Jalan Rumbia.

Jalan Wasai Limuru Utara starts from Jalan Wasai Limuru T-junction until the end of the road (leading towards T-junction, Jalan Wasai Limuru).

Jalan Wasai Limuru Barat starts from the T-junction in front of Wasai Limuru until the end of the road (leading towards T-junction, Jalan Wasai Limuru).

Jalan Binglu starts from the second roundabout in front of the Wasai Limuru and towards the Muara-Tutong Highway T-junction besides Kg Tanah Jambu.

Jalan Binglu Utara is the first main entrance road (to the area) from Wasai Limuru. It starts from the T-junction of Jalan Binglu until the end of the road (towards the Jalan Binglu on the right).

Jalan Binglu Tengah is the second entrance road from Wasai Limuru. It starts from the T-junction in front of Jalan Binglu until the end of the road (towards Jalan Binglu on the right).

Jalan Binglu Barat is the third entrance road from Wasai Limuru Road. It starts from the T-junction of Jalan Binglu, in front of Jalan Rumbia, until the end of the road (towards Jalan Binglu on the right) and in front of Jalan Selatan Binglu.

Jalan Binglu Selatan starts from the Jalan Binglu T-junction until the end of the road and in front of Jalan Binglu Selatan.

Jalan Rumbia starts from the intersection in front of Jalan Binglu towards the roundabout in front of Jalan Wasai Limuru.

Jalan Kamangsi is the entrance road from Jalan Tanjung Sunting. It starts from the T-junction in front of Jalan Wasai Limuru until the end of the road towards the T-junction in front of Jalan Wasai Limuru.

Jalan Kemangsi Timur is the first entrance road from Jalan Wasai Limuru. It starts from the T-junction in front of Jalan Kamangsi until the end of the rood (going back to Jalan Kamangsi).

Jalan Kamangsi Selatan is the third entrance road from Jalan Wasai Limuru. It starts from the T-junction in front of Jalan Kamangsi until the end of the road (going back to Jalan Kamangsi).

Jalan Kamangsi Barat is the second entrance road from Jalan Wasai Limuru. It starts from the T-junction in front of Jalan Kamangsi until the end of the road (going back to Jalan Kamangsi).

Meanwhile, the list and information of new names and amended names at STKRJ Kg Tanah Jambu, are as follows.

Jalan Kulimpapa starts from the roundabout in front of Jalan Utama Tanah Jambu until the end of the road of the T-junction on the right towards Jalan Kulimpapa.

Jalan Sadaman starts from Jalan Kulimpapa T-junction until all the way to the end of the road, to the south.

Jalan Sadaman Barat starts from the T-junction in front of Jalan Sadaman until the end of the road, the T-junction going back out of Jalan Sadaman.

Jalan Keramunting starts from the T-junction in front of Jalan Sadaman Barat until the end of the road towards the T-junction going back out of Jalan Sadaman Barat.

Jalan Keramunting Barat starts from the T-junction in front of Jalan Keramunting until the end of the road towards the T-junction going back out of Jalan Keramunting.

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Road Names in Bandar Seri Begawan

Bandar Seri Begawan, 18 April 2013 - THE Municipal Department has announced new and amended road names within the municipal area of Bandar Seri Begawan approved through the National Committee of Geographical Names (JKNG).


Jalan Tutong now begins from the Simpang to Jalan Telanai.
The list and information of new and amended road names within BSB Municipal area are as follows.

Jalan Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah is the name of the road starting from the front of Gadong crossroads in Kampong Beribi which is Jalan Gadong and in front of Jalan Telanai towards the roundabout on the right side of Kawasan 1 Perpindahan Mata-Mata.

Jalan Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha is the name of the road in Kampong Telanai starting from the T-junction in front of Jalan Sultan (in front of Fire and Rescue Station) towards the T-junction of Jalan Telanai.

Jalan Permaisuara is the name of the road in Kampong Beribi starting from the T-junction (Spg 87) in front of Jalan Babu Raja until the T-junction (Spg 111) in front of Jalan Telanai.

Jalan Jame ‘Asr is the name of the road in Kampong Kiulap starting from the crossroads in front of Jalan Kumbang Pasang (SOAS) going towards the Jame ‘Asr Mosque roundabout continuing towards the Babu Raja roundabout.

Jalan Industry Beribi is the name of the road in Kampong Beribi starting from the Jalan Babu Raja roundabout towards the Beribi Industrial Gadong roundabout.

Jalan Stadium is the name of the road along the government department and housing areas starting from the T-junction in front of Jalan Berakas on the left side of the RBAF area, towards the roundabout on the right side of ICC going towards the Jalan Pulaie junction continued towards the traffic light junction in front of Jalan Berakas on the right side of the government flats, Kampong Anggerek Desa and in front of the RBAF area.

Jalan Dewan Majlis in Kampong Melabau starts from the crossroads in front of Jalan Menteri Besar towards the Ceremony Hall building until the T-junction in front of Jalan Kebangsaan.

Jalan Pusat Persidangan is the name of the road along the government department and housing areas starting from the crossroads in front of the National Stadium (Jalan Stadium) until the crossroads in front of Jalan Menteri Besar.

Jalan Pusat Dakwah in Kampong Pulaie starts from the crossroads in front of Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and Jalan Kebangsaan, towards the roundabout on the left side of the ICC building and in front of the National Stadium.

Jalan Landasan Lama is the name of the road along the government department area starting from the crossroads in front of the Ministry of Education until the end of the road going towards the Training Unit building of the Ministry of Development.

Jalan Dato Haji Ahmad in Kampong Jaya Setia starts from the Jalan Berakas T-junction heading towards the crossroads in front of the Ministry of Education.

Jalan Muhibbah is the name of the road along the government department and housing areas starting from the T-junction in front of Jalan Lapangan Terbang Lama towards the roundabout in front of the Ministry of Development building.

Jalan Pertahanan is the road along Kampong Jaya Setia/Kampong Burong Pingai starting from the T- junction in front of the Ministry of Defence towards the end of Jalan Kampong Burong Pingai Berakas.

Jalan Pembangunan is the road along the government departments and housing area starting from the Mail Processing Centre until the road leading towards the Training Unit building of the Ministry of Development.

Jalan E-Kerajaan is the road along Kampong Beribi starting from the T-junction (Simpang 21) in front of the Beribi Industrial until the end of the T-junction road in front of Jalan Babu Raja.

Meanwhile, the name list of bridges for the upgrading project of the Kampong Ayer housing area Mukim Peramu and Mukim Saba, Bandar Seri Begawan, are as follows.

Jambatan Patih Barbai is the bridge in Kampong Lurong Sikuna/Saba Laut/Saba Tengah, starting from the Kampong Saba Tengah lagoon connecting the left side of the Culture and Tourism Gallery, Kampung Ayer.

Jambatan Padian is the bridge in Kampong Lurong Sikuna/Setia Pahlawan, starting from the Kampong Lurong Sikuna Lagoon connecting Kampong Setia Pahlawan.

Jambatan Laila Menchanai is the bridge in Kampong Lurong Sikuna/Setia Pahlawan, starting from the junction of the Patih Barbai bridge connecting the end of the border and the front of Kampong Pekilong Muara.

Jambatan Padaun is the bridge in Kampong Setia Pahlawan/Peramu, starting from the T-junction of the Laila Menchanai bridge connecting the Kampong Peramu Lagoon.

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bruneians Complete World's Toughest Marathon

Our two runners from Brunei Darussalam, Ahmad Fathi Dato Junaidi and Hamsul Sulaiman have just completed the toughest marathon in the world, officially called Marathon des Sables 2013 running across the Sahara Desert in Morocco. I can only say, CONGRATULATIONS AND WELL DONE! Not that many people are willing to run 156 miles in the searing Saharan Desert carrying your own food rations and other requirements with you. WELL DONE again.



They were sponsored by Bank Islam Brunei Drussalam (BIBD) in this news report:- "WITH the full support of Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam Berhad (BIBD), Brunei's first ever Marathon Des Sables (MDS) runners, Hamsul Sulaiman and Ahmad Fathi Junaidi, left yesterday for their attempt to conquer the MDS, held in the Sahara Desert. The MDS, touted as the toughest footrace on Earth, held over seven days and six stages where the participants in the Marathon des Sables will have to survive across 155 miles (250km) equivalent to running 5.5 marathons. They have to carrying all their essential equipment such as gear, food, obey a laundry list of safety rules; sleep in communal tents and so on, as only water is rationed and handed out at each checkpoint."

The Marathon des Sables (MdS) is an epic event which takes place every year in the Saharan desert of Morocco, and is arguably The Toughest Footrace On Earth. In 1984 Patrick Bauer – a French concert promoter - decided to put the world of rock ‘n roll behind him and set out for an epic walkabout. He chose the Algerian Sahara, one of the most brutal environments on earth, and he opted to walk 200 miles of it with all he would need on his back.

It was on this epic trek, under the relentless Saharan sun that his idea of creating the world’s toughest footrace came to him. Two years later in 1986 having obtained the funding he needed, he successfully organised the 1st ‘Marathon of the Sands’ which was run in Southern Morocco.

April 2013 sees the 28th MdS with around 1000 participants racing through some of the most vicious terrain on the planet; running, walking and sometimes even crawling through rocks and sand, over salt plains, stoney Hamada desert and sand dunes of up to 150m high, and experiencing sand storms and temperatures sometimes exceeding 50 degrees Celsius; definitely not for the faint hearted!
The MdS takes place over 6 days and covers 150 – 156 miles (254km) – the equivalent of 5.5 regular Marathons! It is run in 6 stages, the longest stage being around 80 plus kilometres when many of the competitors will run through the night to complete it.

Entrants are self-sufficient, carrying all of their provisions for the full 6 days on their backs; sleeping bag, first aid kit including an anti-venom pump for snake bites, food, cooking stove and clothes. Rationed water is provided throughout the race at check-points along each stage, and again at the camp at the end of each day, with each participant having the same daily allowance which they must manage carefully and efficiently.

At the end of each stage a camp is set up for the competitors, with traditional Moroccan bivouacs sleeping 8 people. Here the competitors will cook their own dinner, visit the medics to have their blisters lanced and dressed, show amazing humour considering the exhaustion and pain they are suffering, and forge solid friendships for life.

The following list will help give you an idea of just how big an event this truly is and how much organisation is involved:

120,000 liters of mineral water
400 support staff
100 volunteers for the course
100 4×4 vehicles
270 saharan and Berber tents
2 “Ecureuil” helicopters and 1 “Cessna” plane
23 buses
6 MDS specific commercial planes
4 camels
4 quads bikes
3 mountain bikes
1 incinerator lorry for burning waste
52 strong medical team
6,5 kms of Elastoplast , 2,700 compeed blister plasters, 19,000 compresses
6,000 painkillers and 150 litres of disinfectant
6 satellite telephones, 15 computers, fax and internet
1 editing bus, 5 cameras and 1 satellite image station

Besides the obvious self-rewards for competing and finishing this mammoth event, hundreds of thousand’s of £ are also raised each year by the competitors for various charities around the globe, helping to make all of their training, hard work, immense effort and pain all the more worth while.

The two will be home this 18th April 2013. Come show your support at the Airport.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

1950s Gravel Quarry at Butir

Gravel Quarry of Old Brunei
written by Haji Mohd Daud Haji Abd Rahman
 
THE industrial mining of gravel has been carried out in Brunei for a long time. Gravel is needed for all sorts of activities especially construction. Now not many recall the name of Kampong Butir.
 
An hour away from Kianggeh, Kampong Butir used to be the main place in Brunei where gravel was quarried from the earth.
 

 
The village residents of Kampong Butir comprised the Kedayan community, one of the seven ethnic Malay tribes of Brunei. Most of the villagers were subsistence farmers and fishermen, who earned a living by cultivating the soil and harvesting the river.

Kampong Butir rose to prominence when people started mining for gravel and it was found in abundance there. Workers would dig the soil to extract the gravel. From Kampong Butir, the gravel was transported to gravel processing sites using wooden barges known as ‘tongkang’ and ‘kumpit’.

Back then, the gravel processing sites were located on the banks of Sungai Kianggeh and Sungai Tungkadeh. Here, men would process the gravel by removing it off the barges, drying it and then loading it into the crushing machine. Most of the process was painstakingly done by using only manual labour.

Today, Kampong Butir no longer exists. The spot is forested and long-forgotten. Quarries are now mainly located in the Temburong District and gravel is transported to the Brunei-Muara District using steel barge ships. Modern equipment are also used to move and process the gravel.

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --

Friday, April 12, 2013

Protecting the Intangible Culture Heritage

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Haji Hazair (C); Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Awg Haji Mohd Rozan (L); and UNESCO Programme Specialist for Culture, Masanori Nagaoka

Bandar Seri Begawan, 11 April 2013 - THE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) together with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) yesterday organised a forum briefing entitled ‘UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention’.

The forum brought together representatives from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; Ministry of Home Affairs; Attorney General’s Chambers Office; along with district officials, local representatives, academics from Universiti Brunei Darussalam, local NGOs, as well as experts and policy makers in the field of culture, to discuss regarding the safeguarding and promoting of the country’s Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). In addition to that, it also provided further information on UNESCO’s implementation strategy for the ICH Convention and efforts to strengthen internal networks amongst different levels of stakeholders.

According to a press release, over 70 individuals attended the forum, including the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Haji Hazair bin Haji Abdullah; and the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman; as well as all four districts community representatives.

Divided into three sessions, the forum discussed topics including the ‘Introduction of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage’, ‘UNESCO’s Strategies for the Implementation of the 2003 Convention in Asia and Pacific’, and ‘Discussion with the National and Working Committee members on the UNESCO’s proposed project entitled ‘Strengthening Capacity Building for the Promotion and Implementation of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Brunei Darussalam’.’

Datin Paduka Hajah Adina, who was also the Chairperson of the National Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, in her opening speech, emphasised on the importance of safeguarding the ICH of Brunei and the country’s readiness to commit itself for the more proactive engagement in safeguarding ICH at both national and international levels.

The first and second sessions discussed collaboration in safeguarding ICH at both international and regional levels, in particular on its challenges in the Asia and Pacific region. Masanori Nagaoka, Head of Culture Unit of the UNESCO Office Jakarta, presented UNESCO’s strategies for the implementation of the 2003 Convention, while giving an overview of the various ICH safeguarding practices in Southeast Asia. Nagaoka also outlined UNESCO’s view on the importance of regional collaboration and network building among stakeholders.

The meeting then continued to an afternoon session which invited designated members of the Brunei national and working group to identify prioritised actions for the implementation of the convention at national level.

During the third session, the participants discussed a number of challenges faced in Brunei and the ways to tackle these issues to safeguard its significant ICH. Nagaoka underlined that UNESCO’s strategic emphasis on strengthening capacities of national counterparts to implement the convention, meet their obligations for safeguarding, and benefit from the opportunities and mechanisms of international cooperation created under the convention.

Nagaoka further introduced to the participants, UNESCO’s series of training workshops which included training materials with lesson plans, presentations, slide-shows, exercises and quizzes. The approach adopted in developing these materials is to emphasise on interactivity and active learning.

The Government of Brunei Darussalam is currently considering working closely with UNESCO in having these training workshops delivered in Brunei in order to consolidate the country’s capacity and update/revise the country’s mechanism to commit itself to the safeguarding of ICH.

Nagaoka was in Brunei from April 8-11.

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cemetery at Bukit Salat

Study of Old Tombstones at Bukit Salat Cemetery
written by Haji Md Daud Abd Rahman



Around five photographers including a driver from the History Centre went to Bukit Salat – situated near the Kampong Bukit Salat housing area, surrounded by the Kedayan River and opposite the High Court – to conduct a study on the ancient tombstones located at the old cemetery.

Based on survey results and the cemetery land research, the cemetery existed since the early 1940s before World War II.
In the early 1950s, Bukit Salat was full of bushes with big trees, which covered the existence of tombstones and was not visible when travelling by boat.

The height of Bukit Salat is about 50 feet, and during the study it was found that there were three old tombstones where one was on top and the other two were found on the slope.

The tombstone found on top of Bukit Salat in the shape of a square, where according to studies, it was possibly owned by a Pengiran or Ampuan.

The tombstone, more than half a century old, had no visitors for a long period of time.

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

ASTERAWANI supported by MCYS

Bandar Seri Begawan, 7 April 2013 - Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Awg Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos yesterday underlined that locally produced literary works can help generate high returns for the creative industry.

He said this during the launch of the 41st General Meeting of Literature Writers (ASTERAWANI) which was held at the Language and Literature Bureau near the Old Airport Road.


Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Awg Haji Mohd Rozan presenting a souvenir to an ASTERAWANI member

Locally produced literary works can be created, published and marketed, he said, before going on to explain that this would not only be a treasure to the future generation, but could also steer them towards strengthening the cultural importance of the Malay race in the context of the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) philosophy which is unparalleled in value.

He later added that ASTERAWANI should be proactive in being able to adapt to the era of globalisation and ICT.

“For example, spreading information and raising awareness through ICT facilities such as e-Book, blog, Facebook; helping establish economic activities in accommodating management and administrative costs in an organisation, and helping explore the field of publishing, which provides services as agents of distribution and sale of books by local authors.”

He also expressed hopes ASTERAWANI remains a non-governmental organisation that continues to flourish, and serves as a good example to other organisations and associations in the country.

“The established veterans and leaders shall continue to provide their devotion, energy, knowledge to help contribute, shape and guide the next generation,” the Permanent Secretary said.

“I understand that there are numerous ASTERAWANI members who receive national and international recognition after receiving awards such as SEA Write Awards, MASTERA, MABBIM, ASEAN COCI, Islamic Literature Award, Exemplary Award, Service and Activist ASTERAWANI and others,” he said.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and the Language and Literature Bureau will provide continuous support and assistance in terms of moral support, infrastructure and programme-based finance as well as in other relevant activities.

Meanwhile, Haji Abdul Hakim bin Haji Mohd Yassin, the Head I of ASTERAWANI, expressed his gratitude to Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB) for its contribution in realising the non-government organisation’s celebration last year.

“We are also very grateful that we have gained the attention and concern from the minister and other departments. The presence of the Permanent Secretary today further proves the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports’ commitment towards literature writers, especially those in ASTERAWANI.”

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Efforts to preserve literary traditions lauded

Bandar Seri Begawan, 6 April 2013 - THE call to raise awareness upon students as well as the general public on the importance of literature was lauded by Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports during the launch of Literature Festival 2013.

Haji Mohd Rozan highlighted the role of the festival in raising awareness; establishing knowledgeable, informative, visionary, high integrity, competitive and creative Brunei community to improve the religion and country.


Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos speaks at the Literature Festival 2013. – SYAZWANI HJ ROSLI

The involvement of the undergraduates in the festival, according to Haji Mohd Rozan, denotes part of their educational training, exposure and experience from everything they learnt in class. He believes that their efforts in organising the festival is relevant because literature is the treasure of civilisation and is an indication of the values of the nation.

“Literature has always been involved with human issues and conveys various messages and themes from the social, political, cultural and philosophical aspects.”

At the same time, he also emphasised that not only can literature be a treasure for the future generations, but it can also help guide students and the general public in empowering the heritage of the Malays in the context of the Malay Islamic Monarchy philosophy.

“Empowering the Brunei Malay literature culture is part of the policy of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to enhance and develop the creative arts industry that aims to assist literature activists in utilising their creativity to generate income.”

Haji Mohd Rozan also hoped that the festival organised by the undergraduates will help to expand the horizon of local literature products as well as preserve the values of the literary tradition.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

Friday, April 05, 2013

Yayasan Sultan hands donation

Bandar Seri Begawan, 5 April 2013 - THE Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah handed over $100,000 to the Gaza people humanitarian fund and another $50,000 to the Philippine Bopha victims humanitarian fund yesterday.

Both contributions were presented by Chairman of the Yayasan Board of Directors, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong to the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah.


Chairman of the Yayasan Board of Director, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Hj Awg Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong (2L) hands over the cheque to the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah (2R) for the Gaza humanitarian fund

Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah is established as a platform for charity endowment or personal contributions of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and other members of the royal family as a sign of care and love of His Majesty towards his people in creating a prosperous and harmonious community.

Meanwhile, Yayasan also contributed $2,000 to Universiti Brunei Darussalam to sponsor the registration fees for some 100 students who are financially incapable of attending the ‘International Research Seminar on Malay 2013’. The contribution was received by the Assistant Registrar of Brunei Studies Academy of Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Dk Halmyana binti Pg Md Yusof.

Another $1,397 was presented to Kg Bukit Mosque, Tutong for the purchase of an audio speaker set. One of the objectives of the establishment of Yayasan in religious field is to render assistance to mosques, suraus and religious halls in the form of financial assistance, and materials. Present to receive the contribution was the Imam of Kg Bukit Mosque, Hj Mohd Azley bin Hj Muhd Aliuddin.

Yayasan also provides contributions to those who are underprivileged such as victims of house fires. Such assistance is implemented continuously in accordance with the needs from time to time.

In this regard, Yayasan handed over a total of $21,900 to seven families whose houses were razed to the ground in separate incidents in Tutong and Belait Districts.

The two recipients from Bukit Panggal were the representatives of the late Awg Hj Tasim bin Hj Abdul Rahman and Awg Muhd Shafiee bin Uthman; Awg Md Tamin bin Salam from Kg Bukit Sibut; Dyg Ainah binti Sahat from Kg Bukit Sulang; Wong Shak Yun from Jln Tengah in Belait District; Awg Samsuddin bin Sulaiman from Sungai Mau and Dyg Rabiah binti Mat Som from Jln Kerma Negara.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

Inspirational Quotes

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