Thursday, January 30, 2014

Brunei's Economy Down 9.7%

The Brunei Times on 30 January 2014 had this report about Brunei:


by Fitri Shahminan

Thursday, January 30, 2014 - BRUNEI’S economic output tumbled 9.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2013 due to a significant decline in the performance of both the oil and gas sector, and industry.

During the quarter, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $4.66 billion at current prices, data from the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) show. This was a decline of almost two digits from the $5.16 billion recorded in the same period of 2012.

The department in its press statment did not say what sector caused the economic decline in the third quarter of last year.

However, statistics released by the JPKE show that the oil and gas sector’s economic performance in the quarter decreased 11.7 per cent year on year.

The industrial sector, weighed down heavily by a 17.2 per cent slump in mining, posted a year-on-year decrease of 9.7 per cent.

Industry’s poor performance in the third quarter followed a growth rate of 0.05 per cent in the second quarter of 2013.

The Brunei economy recorded positive performance in other sub-sectors of industry.

Construction grew 3.5 per cent year on year, followed by manufacturing at 3.1 per cent and electricity and water at 1.9 per cent.

The non-oil and gas sector, however, continued to increase economic output by 2.4 per cent year on year, the department said.

Growth came mainly from the services sector, which raised its output by 2.4 per cent after also recording an increase of 4.3 per cent year on year in the second quarter 2013.

Real estate and ownership of dwellings contributed the highest growth of 4.8 per cent year on year followed by private services with 3.6 per cent, finance at 2.8 per cent, trade 2.2 per cent, transport and communication 2.1 per cent and government services at 1.5 per cent.

The agriculture, forestry and fishery sector rose by one per cent year on year, bouncing from a decrease of 6.2 per cent in the second quarter of last year.

This was mainly attributed to the growth of the agriculture sector by 3.3 per cent after a decline of 4.1 per cent in the previous quarter.

“By expenditure approach, the decline in GDP was due to the decrease in exports of goods and services by 9.2 per cent year on year and government consumption expenditure by 0.3 per cent year on year,” the JPKE said.

“Meanwhile, imports of goods and services recorded the highest growth of 4.9 per cent followed by capital formation 4.8 per cent year on year and personal consumption expenditure 1.1 per cent year on year,” it added.

GDP is a measure of the total value of goods and services produced by a particular country within a particular period after deducting the cost of goods and services used up in the process of production.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Unusual Postmark Cancellations on Brunei Stamps

If you just take a glance at these stamps from my collection, you would not have noticed anything different. Just ordinary used Brunei stamps. They are old though. The 1 cent was issued in 1908 and the 5 cent was issued in 1916.

Look closely. Look at the postmarks.

Now you can see. The 5 cent stamp was postmarked Labuan on 9 November 1922. The 1 cent was postmarked Kingstown on 6 September 1910. You all know where Labuan is. Kingstown? That's somewhere in the West Indies.

Theory? Probably the stamps when affixed to the envelope escaped from being postmarked in Brunei but when it landed in Labuan, the postmaster there affixed the cancellation so that the stamp can not be used. Similarly with the Kingstown postmark. The other interesting bit was that someone in Brunei wrote a letter to someone in Kingstown. If the stamp can talk, what interesting tales can it have.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Past Maulid ur Rasul Processions in Brunei 1950s and 1960s

Some of my photograph collections of Maulidur Rasul processions in the 1950s and 1960s in Bandar Seri Begawan and Seria.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Map of Brunei 1749

This 1749 map shows Brunei (circled red) as Borneo to differentiate it from the Island of Borneo (Isle de Borneo). Brunei was generally known as Proper Borneo in many maps around those periods. The more the mappers know of a place, the more detailed the maps are for that particular place. Hence Borneo is properly shown together with Labuan Island just off the coast of Brunei. Tanjung Baram was known but someone would have to tell me what happened to Bacasa or Canciran both very near Brunei in this map.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Protecting Our Future

Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, delivering his speech at the opening of the Asean Child Protection Training Programme. – JAMES KON

Story by James Kon
Posted date: January 07, 2014 In: Headline, National

THE Government of Brunei Darussalam is committed to ensuring that children-related issues are given high priority in the national agenda because they are important assets of the nation, some of whom will become future leaders. Several policies and programmes are in place to promote and protect the rights and well-being of children in the country.

Brunei’s high commitment to protecting the nation’s children was highlighted by Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in a speech at the opening of the Asean Child Protection Training Programme held at Star Lodge Hotel yesterday morning.

Hj Mohd Rozan, who is also Head of the Brunei Darussalam Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development, outlined some of the key policies and programmes to help children in their development and welfare.

“Children in the country have enjoyed positive development and continued progress as a result of the nation’s proactive efforts in improving the lives of its people as reflected in our nation’s Vision 2035 that is geared toward an educated, highly skilled and accomplished people, an increase in the quality of life and towards a dynamic as well as sustainable economy.”

Children, he said, “enjoy free healthcare and medical services which are readily available to the population throughout the country. The sound government policies in the delivery of health services are reflected in the excellent indicators such as Brunei Darussalam achieving the Millennium Development Goals of 4, 5 and 6”.

He noted that “The maternal mortality rate was 15.6 per cent per 100,000 live births in 2010 and in 2012, there were only three maternal mortalities. Infant and child mortality rates have been reduced significantly from 30 deaths per thousand live births in 1970s to the current rate of 8.3 deaths per thousand live births and the mortality rate for children under five was 10 per thousand live births. Immunisation coverage has consistently been above 95 per cent for all vaccinations which met the targets set by the World Health Organization”.

In education, he said, “The Compulsory Education Order 2007 ensures that all children attend school for a minimum of nine years, while the National Education Policy emphasises that every child should have at least 12 years of schooling”.

For child protection against all forms of violence, abuse and negligence, he said, “Brunei Darussalam has in place legislations which provide legal protection and care.

“The Children and Young Persons Act provides protection and rehabilitation of children and young persons in an institution or with foster families.

“Under the Act, a multi-agency committee known as the Action Team on Child Protection was set up to discuss the issues of child protection and well-being. For children of poor families, they are provided with financial assistance in the form of subsidiaries and educational allowances.”

He acknowledged that the task of protecting children has become much more complex and demanding over the last decade whereby people who work with children in need of special protection, especially victims of domestic violence, require a wider range of skills, abilities, experience and knowledge in order to be effective.

According to UNICEF, an estimated 197 million children under the age of 18 are living in Asean member states. Although each country in Southeast Asia is unique, there are children in countries who are deprived of their right to grow up in a safe and protected environment.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin --

Follow Prescribed Adoptions in Brunei

Story by Rabiatul Kamit
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

PARENTS were urged to take formal procedures in adopting children to deter mistreatment and neglect, following the recent death of a three-year-old toddler at the hands of her adoptive parents.

Children adopted without the involvement of relevant authorities are more vulnerable to mistreatment and neglect, as such cases remain unreported, said Hj Mohd Rozan Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

Hj Mohd Rozan drew attention to a high-profile court case involving a married couple, Muhd Firdaus Hj Hamid and Masnani Hj Masri, found guilty of fatally abusing their young adopted daughter within a few days of her informal adoption last September.

“The difficulty is that sometimes nobody knows about the abuse until it’s too late,” said the permanent secretary.

He added that measures in formal adoption procedures were in place to detect child mistreatment and neglect.

He explained that formal adoption could have prevented the death of the three-year-old toddler as the biological and adoptive parents would have been subjected to stringent, screening tests to evaluate their suitability in addition to follow-up reports on the adopted child’s condition.

“If it was a formal adoption, it wouldn’t have come to such a stage,” said Hj Mohd Rozan, pointing out that the tradition of informal adoptions, also known colloquially as mengasuh anak, is commonly practised among families.

Dr Pauline Ann Meemeduma, a child protection consultant at UNICEF, also weighed in on the homicide case, noting that informal adoptions often fail as the parents involved are not assessed in terms of motivation as well as capacity and resources to take care of a child.

“It’s a very good tradition that other people want to extend care, but the rest of us have to be very sure that they are doing it for the right reasons. We want the best of that tradition, but we need to professionalise it,” she said.

The tradition of mengasuh anak should not be wiped out, explained Dr Meemeduma, however greater government intervention is required to monitor informal adoptions.

“If you do it properly, the country will benefit because we won’t get tragedies like this,” she added.

-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times --

Friday, January 10, 2014

Seria 1954

This photo is from the Brunei Annual Report 1954 showing Seria Town. Some of the shops remained till today.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Seria in the 1950s

The caption for this postcard reads: Seria Town in the 1950s / Pekan Seria di sekitar tahun 1950an (Source: Photo from National Archives Centre)

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Scenic Aerial Photo of Bandar Seri Begawan in the 1970s

The caption for this postcard reads: Scenic aerial view of Bandar Seri Begawan in the 1970s / Pemandangan Bandar Seri Begawan dari udara dalam tahun 1970an. This is part of a series of 9 postcards issued by the Brunei National Archives in 2012. The series showed selected old photographs that are kept at the National Archives building next to the Legislative Assembly building. (Source: Photo from National Archives Centre)

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Silver Jubilee of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin 1949

The Kajang-roofed Lapau building that was used on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin on 22 September 1949 (Photo: Postcard from National Archives Centre)

Monday, January 06, 2014

Mobile Postal Service Brunei 1975

I am sometimes surprised to see old photos and what it shows. This one is taken from 1975 when the Brunei Postal Services Department was operating a Mobile Post Office. Does anybody remember?

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Jalan Masjid, Brunei Town.

I bought the following photograph quite a while ago. What attracted me was that these four people took a photo in front of a road Jalan Masjid. This road does not exist anymore but if memory serves me correctly and my theory is correct, this road should be the current Jalan Elizabeth II in front of the General Post Office. The mosque known as Masjid Kajang was built somewhere at the carpark area of today's TAIB Headquarters in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Prophet's Birthday 1960s

One of the troupes that followed the procession in conjunction with the observance of the Prophet's birthday around the 1960s. (Photo: Postcard from National Archives Centre)

Friday, January 03, 2014

Hearth Mat Braiding 1940s

The hearth mat braiding artwork made from pandan or screw pine leaves became a part of the women's activity around Kampong Ayer in the 1940s. (Photo: Postcard from National Archives Centre)

Inspirational Quotes