Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Brunei Create Gaming Industry

Fitri Shahminan


Friday, December 19, 2014

A PRIVATE sector push is needed to help spawn a local gaming industry and provide future employment opportunities for upcoming developers and animators, a senior official at the Cosmopolitan College and Technology (CCCT) said recently.

The college will be offering a new diploma programme in gaming and animation and it is expected that this will develop the capability of young Bruneians in the field, Rissa Pacuribot, head of Public Relations at CCCT told The Brunei Times.

“We are developing the technology in Brunei... So this is also an opportunity for the private sector to come up with the idea of putting another type of business opportunity that will be ready in Brunei,” she said.

She said it is important to understand what the younger generation is interested in if they are to pursue their studies.

“We have to look also into (their) passion when it comes to a career that they want to pursue. So since this is their interest and passion in the field of education, they can be interested in their studies that they are able to cope and excel more,” said Pacuribot.

Soon, with more locals capable of developing games and animation, it is a chance for the (business community) to develop an industry to provide opportunity and employment for them in the future, she added.

The new programme is a collaboration with Singapore-based Infomatics Academy, she said.

“This is a programme accredited by the Ministry of Education. This is an international programme, so the accreditation given to our Diploma in Gaming and Animation is BTEC National Diploma, so the next pathway will be the National Advanced Diploma - BTEC HND,” said Pacuribot.

She added the programme leads to a relevant degree course.

The course is available on full-time and part-time basis.

Cosmopolitan College of Commerce & Technology Sdn Bhd was established in August 2004 to cater to growing demand for quality human resources training and development services in the country, information on its website stated.

Its mission is to understand and integrate educational, training and development needs of the students and managing them to produce future managers and leaders.

The Brunei Times

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

US Ambassador Urged Brunei to Continue Conflict Mediation Role

US Ambassador Daniel L Shields giving his farewell speech during the luncheon was hosted by diplomatic corps. BT File held at The Star Lodge Hotel in Jerudong yesterday. Picture:BT/SyazwanYussofSyazwan Yussof



Thursday, December 18, 2014

BRUNEI should continue to be a leader in mediating regional conflicts and rejecting extremism, said the outgoing US ambassador.

In an exit interview with The Brunei Times, Daniel Shields said Brunei showed “great restraint and diplomacy” when mediating tensions over the disputed South China Sea, providing much-needed calm following a period of disagreement among ASEAN countries on how to handle overlapping territorial claims with China.

“I thought Brunei did a brilliant job of providing leadership and security,” he said yesterday.

“Brunei has always been a country that various parties can count on to speak up for restraint and diplomacy in terms of dealing any tension in the South China Sea. So I think Brunei’s contribution there has been very important.”

Brunei is one of four ASEAN countries – along with Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia – that has overlapping claims with China in the resource-rich sea, which is home to vital international shipping lanes.

Over the past few years, tensions have flared due to Chinese incursions into Filipino and Vietnamese waters, with Manila and Hanoi crying foul over what they see as Chinese aggression.

Shields also applauded the Sultanate for taking a strong stand against extremism, particularly with the growing threat from the Islamic State (IS) militant group, which has been recruiting ASEAN citizens to fight civil wars in Iraq and Syria.

“In His Majesty’s remarks at the United Nations, and the statement the government issued condemning violent activities by IS, Brunei has been very clear in rejecting extremism and I really applaud Brunei for speaking out on that important issue,” said the ambassador.

In recent months the Brunei government has become increasingly concerned with the growing threat and reach of the IS, condemning its actions and calling to disrupt terrorist financing channels.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, has given strong support to two recent UN Security Council Resolutions aimed at suppressing the activities of terrorist groups.

Washington has also promised material support to countries involved in direct conflict with the extremist group, and has urged ASEAN leaders to do more to cut off terroist financing channels and stem the flow of foreign fighters to the Middle East.

The Brunei Times


Monday, December 29, 2014

HM Sultan Brunei: Uphold Brunei Identity

Posted date: December 29, 2014

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam underscored the need to strengthen the education system at the primary level in the country, which the monarch saw as key to educational success at the subsequent level.

His Majesty said this in a titah as the ruler and Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha yesterday consented to attend a Get-Together Ceremony with citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland comprising students, government officials on duty and attending courses as well as those on vacation with their families in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland; and the conferment of Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s ‘The Chancellor’s Scholar’ for the 2014/2015 session.

The ceremony was held at the London Hilton on Park Lane, London, United Kingdom.

His Majesty was grateful that this year Brunei has achieved 100 Years of Formal Education. This showed that the nation, since the very beginning, had given serious attention to education. The past 100 years have required the nation to be aware of change, as change never waits to see the country advance or otherwise, the monarch said.

His Majesty highlighted that the world is constantly changing and this change requires the people of Brunei Darussalam to continuously prepare themselves.

His Majesty went on to say that this was the reality of change, which demanded the people to be more creative, dynamic and skilled, especially changes in education that started from the beginning and continued to primary and secondary school, technical education and tertiary education.

His Majesty stated that according to expert analysis, there were three important factors required in order to achieve the best education system, which were getting the right people to be teachers; developing teachers to be effective educators; and ensuring every child’s success through quality education.

His Majesty added that upgrading the quality of education holistically meant strengthening the education system at the primary level. This included improving the level of expertise at the national level which was benchmarked against international standard. His Majesty emphasised that an enhanced education at the early level is key to educational success at the subsequent level.

On achieving international standard, His Majesty was pleased that Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) had transformed itself into a world ranking university, which has excelled in teaching and research. This year, UBD is ranked at the top 50 in five out of nine indicators in Asia in the QS Ranking.

His Majesty further added that Universiti Brunei Darussalam in the year 2012 had introduced the prestigious ‘The Chancellor’s Scholar’, which was in its third year of conferment this year. His Majesty congratulated the two scholars who were conferred ‘The Chancellor’s Scholar’ for the 2014/2015 session to do a doctorate degree (PhD) in a well-known institute.

His Majesty hoped the recipients will continuously improve themselves to achieve success and advised all students, whether on government scholarship or privately funded, to work and study hard to achieve their goals.

His Majesty reminded them that they must never let themselves be exposed to detrimental influences not associated with knowledge and education. His Majesty added that students must be vigilant against destructive elements lurking everywhere and continuously entrench themselves with good virtues and deeds, which Insya Allah, will protect them.

His Majesty further reminded the students to uphold their identity, integrity and Bruneian spirit, and to always practise MIB’s way of living and thinking, and not otherwise.

The ruler also reminded the students that the pride of a nation is not measured from efforts to become a new nation, but when it successfully maintains its heritage and identity.

At the end of the titah, His Majesty sincerely prayed that the students will always be in the protection of Allah the Almighty and be successful in their studies.

Earlier, Their Majesties were greeted on arrival by Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and wife, Datin Nurhanaya Janis binti Abdullah Lim; as well as Radin Abdullah bin Radin Mas Basiuni and Khairiyyah Al-Hasnaa binti Hasan, President and Acting Vice-President of the Association of Students of Brunei Darussalam in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland (Brunei Students’ Union).

Accompanying Their Majesty at the ceremony were His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah; and Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah.

Their Majesties proceeded to the Wellington Ballroom for afternoon tea with senior government officials as well as students who achieved excellence in their studies and active in extra-curricular activities. Later, His Majesty and Her Majesty signed a commemorative parchment, followed by a group photograph session with senior officials from the High Commission of Brunei Darussalam in London as well as the President and Acting Vice-President of Brunei Students’ Union in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Their Majesties also consented to have a photograph session with the recipients of Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s ‘The Chancellor’s Scholar’ for the 2014/2015 session.

His Majesty and Her Majesty then proceeded to the Grand Ballroom for the Get-Together Ceremony.

The ceremony began with Brunei Darussalam’s national anthem which was followed by the recitation of verses from the Quran by Mohammad Faiq bin Haji Rani.

The translation of the verses was read by Ahmad Aiman bin Haji Laidin. The ceremony was followed by a Doa Selamat by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Haji Awang Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.

The ceremony proceeded with a welcoming remark by Radin Abdullah bin Radin Mas Basiuni, the President of the Brunei Students’ Union in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

After His Majesty delivered the titah, the monarch consented to confer ‘The Chancellor’s Scholar’ to two students namely Siti Nurul Azian binti Zakaria who is currently pursuing a doctorate degree (PhD) in Chemistry at the University College London and Nur Liyana binti Haji Ahmad who has been offered a place to do a doctorate degree (PhD) in Clinical Medicine at the Imperial College London.

At the ceremony, Their Majesties also consented to receive a pesambah from the President and Acting Vice-President of the Brunei Students’ Union in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland respectively.

His Majesty and Her Majesty later consented to meet around 2,400 citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland comprising students, government officials who are currently attending courses as well as those who are on holiday with their families.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Brunei's Cosplayers Showcase Creativity


Monday, December 22, 2014

OVER 50 costume players (cosplays) gathered to showcase their talent and creativity at the Brunei Edutainment Wonderland (BEW) yesterday.

During the event, which was organised by NE Project with support from D’Sunlit Sdn Bhd, the audience were entertained stage appearances and performances from various groups that displayed features ranging from Western and Japanese animation to video games characters.

The event attracted costume enthusiast, photographers, anime fans mainly from Brunei-Muara and Belait districts.

It saw a prize presentation for six contestants with the highest votes received for the photo contest jointly organised with Coskuni Productions. There was also a category for the best dressed male and female.

Md Nabil Hj Salamat, 24, who portrayed ‘Grave’ from the online game League of Legends while holding his own customised ‘Grave gun’ made by cardboard and Styrofoam, won the best dressed male.

Meanwhile, the best dressed female went to Siti Nur Afifah Izzatullah Hj Umar, 23, for herportrayal of Ruby Rose from an animated web series of the same name.

All lucky winners received prizes from the organisers followed by a group photo session.

For more information on the event, visit ‘N.E Project’ on Facebook or their Instagram ‘n.e_project’. — Norliha Din

The Brunei Times

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Brunei Airport Has Come A Long Way

Abdul Azim Kassim


Sunday, December 21, 2014

THE Minister of Communications yesterday paid tribute to former and current government officials who contributed to the development of Brunei’s aviation industry.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar said over 20 developments have been made since the first 3,000-feet-long runway was built at the Brunei International Airport 60 years ago.

“We would not have the Brunei International Airport of today if not for the collective efforts made by past and present agencies,” he said.

The minister was speaking at the International Civil Aviation Day 2014 observance at the Royal Brunei Recreation Club in Berakas yesterday.

“The Brunei International Airport’s runway length has now quadrupled to 12,000 feet. The previous runway could only accommodate light aircraft, now it can accommodate the B747 plane,” he said.

On the technical side, the standard of the airfield lighting system has upgraded and an instrument landing system installed.

The Air Traffic Services under the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) now use the radar control service and since 1984, their services have been running 24 hours a week.

“In the past, most employed in the aviation industry were non-locals but now we can see a good number of Bruneians in the industry,” he said.

These achievements, the minister said, would not have been possible if not for the collective efforts made by those in the past and present.

“The developments did not originate from an individual’s efforts – it’s a collective effort by all the important agencies in the aviation industry,” he said.

The Ministry of Communications (MinComm) also remembered the deeds of former DCA directors and awarded tokens of appreciation.

They were Dato Paduka Job Lim, Pg Rakawi Pg Hj Sabli, Pg Dato Paduka Hj Abd Rahman Pg Seri Indera Pg Hj Ismail, Hj Omarali Hj Ja’afar and Pg Adnan Pg Badarudin.

In an interview, YB Pehin Dato Hj Abdullah said apart from a certain incident, 2014 has been a good year overall for Brunei’s civil aviation especially in terms of how far the airport has developed.

“I remember my aunts and uncles talking about their experiences flying in a plane. I flew in a plane for the first time in Form 1 just to experience it; it roughly cost $15.”

Back then, he said connectivity was not as easy as there were not a lot of direct flights.

The minister added that passengers also had to use the stairs to go from plane to the terminal and now there are aerobridges.

“What’s remarkable about the aviation industry is its vibrant effect. The airport modernisation increases flights and passengers, helps with processing cargo, mail – people now can do bookings online,” he said.

“And it’s not just a place where people go to fly, it’s a civil township – it’s a good place for people to meet and even eat now with the restaurants set up there.”

“InsyaAllah the airport’s annual passenger capacity will be up to three million people in the near future.”

The Brunei Times

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bright Future for Brunei Babies

  • The $69 million Women and Children's block of the RIPAS hospital was completed yesterday. Construction of the building began in May 2011. BT/Sanusi Hussin
  • The waiting hall of the paediatric clinic of the newly completed Women and Children's block of the RIPAS hospital. BT/Sanusi Hussin
  • ><

    Aaron Wong


    Friday, December 19, 2014

    INFANT Care in Brunei has grown by leaps and bounds in 2014 with the completion and introduction of several projects and initiatives but new challenges lie ahead with the rise of non-communicable diseases among expecting mothers in the Sultanate.

    All babies born in 2015 will undergo hearing screening to allow health professionals to identify those with hearing loss or deafness, allowing for better management of their problems at an earlier stage.
    The Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof made the announcement earlier in November.
    He said the new screening – which will mitigate future disadvantages in language development among those affected – would be first rolled out at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital, followed by all other district hospitals.
    The screening aims to test every newborn's hearing before they leave the hospital, with nurses and midwives trained to perform the tests.
    Meanwhile, the completion of the much anticipated Women and Children's Block was announced yesterday during the key handing-over ceremony at the site.
    Construction of the $69 million building began in May 2011. It contains 11 floors and houses 353 beds.
    The public can expect a wide range of general and specialist services such as the maternity, neonatal, obstetrics and paediatrics ward, obstetrics, gynaecology clinic and paediatric intensive care unit.
    Brunei's Specialist Training Programme in paediatrics also received a boost as the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health from the United Kingdom approved of Brunei to adopt its curriculum, the Minister of Health revealed in November.

     Infant mortality rate remains low
    The most recent statistics available this year showed Brunei's infant mortality rate to be 9.3 per 1,000 live births in 2012, with perinatal mortality – defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the number of stillbirths and deaths in the first week of life – at 7.5 deaths per 1,000 births.
    The Minister of Health cited these numbers as hugely positive when compared to mortality rates of almost 100 in 1,000 in the country over 60 years ago.
    He explained that the steady reduction in mortality was a direct result of the provision of “accessible, equitable and affordable healthcare through universal health coverage emphasising primary healthcare.”
    To further mitigate deaths, MoH recently introduced a six in one vaccine for infants, replacing the existing oral polio vaccine with an injectable form. Under the National Immunisation Programme, 95 per cent of children under five are immunised.
    Globally, an overall reduction in child mortality has been observed but reductions in perinatal and neonatal (newborn) mortality have stagnated.
    With the day of birth representing the time of greatest risk of death and disability for babies and their mothers – contributing to around half of the world's 289,000 maternal deaths – the Minister called on health professionals in Brunei to utilise the Newborn Health Action Plan endorsed by the WHO to reduce stillborns and newborn deaths.
    Three maternal deaths were reported in 2012, with statistics recorded between 2008 and 2011 fluctuating between one and no reported deaths.

     Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
    Despite reporting encouraging numbers in accessibility, delivery and infant mortality, a number of challenges have been identified by health professionals and various studies.
    Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at RIPAS Hospital Dr Hjh Siti Nor Azmah Abdullah told The Brunei Times that couples – especially those with pre-existing conditions such as hypertension and diabetes – needed to plan their pregnancies with the assistance of health professionals to prevent any negative outcomes to the mother and the baby.
    She said social and cultural issues continue to affect many, explaining that women with existing conditions will decide against medical treatment, instead seeking out alternatives for fear of harming their babies.
    “In an unplanned pregnancy you are a little less prepared, and at a disadvantage in many ways, because of the potential harm these conditions can have on your baby,” she said.
    “Planned pregnancies, early booking and regular checkups have been shown to give a better outcome for both mother and child.”

    The High Risk Clinic which offers treatment for pregnant women with existing conditions has the facilities and manpower to meet specialised needs, with the only practical issue being transport for patients who live in districts such as Kuala Belait.

    According to a recent study published in the Brunei International Medical Journal, overweight first-time mothers in the Sultanate are more likely to have induced labour and emergency caesarean sections.

     The study, reviewing all pregnant women delivering their first child at RIPAS between 2009 and 2010, reported that underweight mothers had the highest rate of normal vaginal delivery at 80 per cent compared to 69 per cent of high Body Mass Index (BMI) and 63 per cent with normal BMI.

    The Brunei Times

    Friday, December 26, 2014

    Brunei Back to School Sales Fever

    Posted date: December 26, 2014In: Headline, National

    | Lyna Mohamad |

    AS GOVERNMENT servants are flush with cash following the disbursement of salary and bonus and the new academic term beginning in over a week’s time, the “Back-to-School” sales fever has gripped the country.

    It’s a busy time of the year for book and stationery stores nationwide, as they make the most out of it with students and parents alike flocking to the stores to beat the last-minute rush for school necessities and avoid being caught in a book shortage scenario.

    Amid the shopping frenzy, a Charity Exhibition and Back-to-School event organised by the KatakIjau Humanitarian Relief Support Group was launched yesterday by the Permanent Secretary (Media and Cabinet) at the Prime Minister’s Office, Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos.

    It was held at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex and organised by the KatakIjau Humanitarian Relief Support Group in collaboration with the Department of Youth and Sports. The exhibition is open to the public until January 4, 2015.

    The guest of honour yesterday presented five wheelchairs to Dr Hjh Nur Azmah binti Abdullah, Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Section of Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital. Education assistance was also presented to five underprivileged students from the Children’s Cancer Foundation (YASKA).

    The guest of honour also presented an appreciation plaque to the Maxiscooter Club Kuala Belait (KEMAS) who was involved in a charity programme in constructing a bridge and steps to the house of Awang Saban in Kg Sungai Teraban, Belait District last May.

    KatakIjau Humanitarian Group also donated $2,000 to YASKA, which was presented by its president Rozan bin Hj Kaderi to a representative of YASKA, Siti Noramizah binti Hj Tengah.

    A series of activities will be held throughout the exhibition such as Zumba Fitness, Cat Show, Tamiya Remote Control Competition, Face Painting, Lucky Draw, Colouring Contest, Mini Cooper and 4WD car show as well as Maxiscooter show, Blood Donation Drive and a Fixie Bike Challenge.

    The event is open to the public from 10am to 10pm, except on Fridays when it will be open from 10am to 11.45am and from 2pm to 10pm. A total of 66 vendors from home-based businesses and local SMEs will be showcasing their products.

    The objective of the event is to raise funds for underprivileged students and YASKA children. The exhibition is also supported by the Riza Group of Companies, Brunei Meows, Persatuan Gemilang, Tamiya, Fixie and Mini Cooper Community in Brunei, KEMAS, Zumba Fitness FuHReaKZ, Interhouse Marketing Sdn Bhd, Excapade Sushi, Ideal Café and Grill and many more.

    Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

    Brunei Darussalam Arbitration Centre Established


    Thursday, December 25, 2014

    HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mui’zzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, has approved the establishment of Brunei Darussalam Arbitration Centre, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced yesterday.

    The centre will promote the adoption of arbitration and mediation services in resolving commercial issues and disputes as a speedier alternative to the usual settlement through civil proceedings in court, the PMO said in statement.

    It added that the centre is established to provide arbitration facilities as well as administrative services and mediation to meet the needs of domestic and international consumers. The centre is an independent and non-profit centre with a broad mandate necessary to administer domestic and international arbitration in Brunei Darussalam.

    It will also have its own board of directors and will be located on the 8th Floor of the Brunei Economic Development Board headquarters on Jalan Kumbang Pasang, the statement added.

    The Brunei Times

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

    Brunei-Russia Ties go from Strength to Strength

    Outgoing Russian Ambassador to Brunei, HE Victor Seleznev

    Posted date: December 20, 2014

    | Siti Hajar |

    WITH Brunei Darussalam being part of a regional bloc (APEC) that has started to garner attention from the rest of the world, counterpart and far-distant neighbour Russia has started to take notice of the Abode of Peace – with a number of firsts between the two countries witnessed over the past few years.

    From big-business energy to softer bilateral ties through the exchange of culture, the relationship between Russia and the Sultanate is slowly coming to the front burner with a number of successful initiatives that stress on laying the foundation for a brighter future.

    Over the past five years since Russia established its embassy under the leadership of outgoing ambassador, Victor Seleznev, the two-way relations has flourished in a number of areas, with the ambition of better serving the people of both countries and many more milestones envisioned for the future.

    Described by the ambassador as being a nation understated in its historical, political and economic capabilities, Brunei offers a vast array of opportunities that Russia can leverage upon, and as the world superpower looks East, Brunei’s potential as an emerging capital in the region is limitless.

    “The most important thing is to find new ways, new spheres of interaction and that could correspond to the needs of each respective partner,” he explained yesterday as he referred to the ways in which Brunei and Russia begin introducing their people to the possibilities that each country offers.

    Apart from the natural partnership in the oil and gas sector, with consideration that both nations are giants in their respective ways, Russia and Brunei have set their sights on expanding cooperation in the field of education with a Memorandum of Understanding slated to be signed next year.

    As shared by the ambassador, Universiti Brunei Darussalam alongside Far Eastern Federal University located in Vladivostok are set to explore opportunities in knowledge exchanges, with what he hopes would focus on collaboration in a number of related areas ranging from research to technical and vocational training.

    “We are to expand more and more our synergy in education,” he said, adding, “I hope there will be more Russian students in Brunei and for more Bruneian citizens who can enjoy educational facilities in Russia.”

    Though it is generally known that Russia emphasises on syllabuses taught in the Russian language, this newly established institution, it was added, will also offer courses in English as a means to quell reservations among foreign students who could potentially find learning in Russian intimidating.

    This effort, he shared, will come under the purview of the institutions rector, who, it was shared, is currently promoting the use of academic English and who has travelled to the country to enhance the education partnership with Brunei’s own policymakers for education.

    As the potential for youth exchange through education looks promising, people-to-people connection has been considered as the foundation of building relationships as far as the ambassador can see with cultural relations being an important achievement during his tenure here in the country.

    It was shared that last year, a number of Russian photographers ventured into the heart of the Bruneian community and had showcased visual representations of the people’s lives to Russia – many of whom are impressed with the country, especially its initiatives to preserve its green gold.

    As an extension to introducing Brunei to the people of Russia, it was explained that Russian’s Tatarstan region – populated by millions of Muslims – offers Brunei opportunities in reaching out to Russia’s Muslim community through the various platforms that Brunei has already established.

    “The Tatarstan region, in the centre of the European part of Russia, has a lot of commonalities with Brunei as one of the main oil producing regions in Russia,” apart from Russia looking to set up its own Islamic banking institution as it looks to tap into this particular emerging market.

    “The president of Tatarstan,” he added, “is scheduled to come to the region with a business delegation and I do hope that we can organise for them to come to Brunei in search of establishing direct commerce contacts with Bruneian establishments,” thus paving way for the Bruneian community to expand its reach into Russia.

    “Brunei is facing real economic progress and the Sultanate doesn’t shy away from modern technologies, economics and science and these are useful and beneficial to the Bruneian Ummah, which is important for the government of Brunei.”

    As he expressed optimism over ongoing dialogue with the likes of the Brunei Investment Agency, the Ministry of Finance and the Brunei Economic Development Board, the ambassador explained that, “The Russian regions are eagerly welcoming the interest of Bruneian society and business community to direct contacts and cooperation. Cultural and tourist exchanges as well as placement of funds in mutually profitable projects are in the nearest agenda of Russian-Brunei inter-regional relations.”

    With Asean only recently emerging on the Russian map, it was explained that the Russian Chamber of Trade and Commerce established a special business council in 2012 especially for the exploration of Asean opportunities that have provided the people of both communities the chance to take part in trips around the Russian region and vice-versa, with Brunei also part of a second mission to take place in the near future.

    Such a trip, he added, comes in the wake of expression of Russian interest in Bruneian projects proposed by the government of Brunei.

    “Though we have yet to take part in any projects in Brunei, the embassy here has been receiving queries from Russian companies – which is a promising start.”

    As the ambassador’s service to the country comes to an end as he prepares to return home to Russia next month, Seleznev expressed his gratitude to the people of Brunei “for the wonderful years that I have been here.”

    He leaves behind a legacy to be carried forward by his successor who, like the ambassador, is versed in the Malay language.

    “What I have experienced in Brunei is witnessing what Brunei is working for, which is development, being fruitful and making the country and its partners more prosperous and this, I believe, is the best possible outcome.

    “As I say my farewell, I depart the country with a peaceful conscience as we continue promoting our relationships in different ways with many more prospects and I am happy that my successor will come in time to continue what we have been striving to accomplish.

    “It is my hope that the next generation will bring even more happiness and I thank Brunei for all the pleasures that it has given me.”

    Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

    Wednesday, December 24, 2014

    Jerudong Park Version 2014: The New Waterpark Again


    BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Wednesday, December 17, 2014 - HEARTY cheers filled the Jerudong Park and Country Club yesterday as the countdown signalled the grand and official opening of the country’s biggest water park.

    Hundreds of visitors comprising the young and old had the first glimpse of 10 exciting water games as they entered the water park.

    Armed with boundless enthusiasm and excitement, the children entered the waters and took to the aqua slides, waterfall jets and guns, water mill and waterslides which were part of the many exciting features of the park.

    Adults also had a great time as they stood below the interactive tipping bucket and daisy showers while the water splashed on their faces.

    Speaking to The Brunei Times, Kristin Natalia, a mother of three children from age six to 13, said that her family enjoyed themselves and will be returning in the future.

    Meanwhile, Haris Fadhilah, who came with five of his nephews and nieces, said that this park was an ideal place for children to spend their time while the adults can enjoy other features of the park.

    A Singaporean visitor to the park, Andrew Chow, who is also an entrepreneur, speaker and author said that the park was an eye-opener for him as he never expected to see this in Brunei.

    “This place is excellent for company team-building and $10 is great investment for families to reconnect and bond,” he added.

    With facilities that include a nursing room, surau (prayer hall), male and female showers with changing rooms and lockers, the water park can accommodate up to 400 visitors at one time.

    However, all visitors are required to observe all rules and regulation at all times when enjoying the facilities. This includes observing decent and appropriate attire at the park. Additionally, visitors can also purchase various items including souvenirs, towels, and sunscreen lotions at the shop located just within the park’s vicinity.

    Charcoal Burger which also opened yesterday is currently the authorised café and restaurant serving light snacks and refreshment to visitors at the water park. However, other cafes and restaurants can also be found at the dry park. The Jerudong Park and Country Club is also featuring its ongoing “December Holiday Specials” promotion throughout the month.

    The promotion offers entry tickets of $10 for adults, $5 for children and $5 for senior citizen above 60 years old. Meanwhile, children below the age of 2 years old enter for free. Throughout the month of December, the Jerudong Park Playground is closed on Monday but is open from 4pm to 6pm and 8pm to 10:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturdays and Sundays, the park open is from 10am to 12noon, 1pm to 3pm, 4pm to 6pm and from 8pm to 10:30pm. Members of the public will also be able to purchase tickets online via the official website a week after the opening of the water park. For more information and updates, follow JPCC’s official Instagram and Facebook accounts at @jerudongpark and Jerudong Park Country Club respectively.

    The Brunei Times


    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    Brunei Land Transport White Paper 2014

    Posted date: December 16, 2014

    | Zee Yusri |

    REDUCING car dependency, keeping traffic moving, achieving a sustainable society and strengthening governance are the four broad strategies identified in the Land Transport Masterplan 2014 (LTMP), which sets out a series of land transport policies under seven strategic goals containing a further 38 high-level and long-term policy recommendations.

    This was highlighted by the guest of honour at the launching of the Land Transport Department’s White Paper for Brunei Darussalam yesterday, the Minister of Communications, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Abdullah bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar.

    The minister also underlined that one of the concerning issues was the road congestion that will be experienced later due to a high car ownership ratio where an annual average rate of nine per cent growth translates to a high dependency on private vehicles in meeting people’s daily mobility needs.

    He added that road congestion will also occur due to the number of vehicles against the length of the roads, which stood at 3,167km in 2013, an increment of only 44km from 2012. Moreover, there are only 105 public buses, 465 school buses and 45 taxis in Brunei currently, which is highly inadequate in providing alternative modes of transport in the country.

    “In line with the National Vision 2035 and the ministry’s vision of a Smart Society and Excellence in Communications by 2017, this White Paper contains national transport policies that form the basis of a national land transport strategy and its implementation plan,” stated the minister.

    He assured that as the sector that affects all segments of the population, the implementation of the LTMP will offer more employment opportunities, increased efficiency in the movement of people, goods and services both in the country and regionally, and can achieve social sustainability with specific emphasis on reducing road traffic injuries and fatalities.

    The minister then revealed that in 2013, deaths from transport accidents is among the top 10 major causes of death in Brunei Darussalam, and that globally, road traffic injuries are the eighth leading cause of death, as well as the leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 29.

    The minister then shared World Health Organization statistics that mention some 1.24 million people die annually on the world’s roads and the cost of dealing with the consequences of crashes, which runs into billions of dollars.

    “As of November 30, there have been 22 road fatalities recorded where almost half are made up of vulnerable road users like motorcyclists and pedestrians. From these statistics, I am confident that Brunei would be able to align its road safety initiatives and strategies with its set targets and objectives,” the minister concluded.

    The launching of the white paper was held at the opening ceremony of the two-day public National Road Safety Seminar 2014, dubbed ‘Our Strive Towards Safer Systems’ which kicked off yesterday afternoon at Institut Teknologi Brunei’s lecture theatre 2.

    Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

    Monday, December 22, 2014

    Jerudong Park Version 2014: New Charcoal Burgers

    Posted date: December 18, 2014

    | Azaraimy HH |

    AFTER enjoying their time at Jerudong Park & Country Club (JPCC) Waterpark, visitors can indulge themselves in a variety of burgers and other gourmet food at Charcoal Burger located right inside the Waterpark.

    The burgers are not your typical local offerings, being much bigger and are styled as ‘100 per cent handmade’.

    Charcoal Burger, which operates under the management of Charcoal BBQ & Grill, was created as a result of the restaurant’s success with its seasonal ‘Big Bang’ gourmet burger promotion. As demand for the burgers grew, the restaurant felt ready to venture into the gourmet burger market.

    Burgers at Charcoal Burger are not like any burgers you get at fast food restaurants, the restaurant said in a press release.

    Unlike processed food, Charcoal Burger’s patties are 100 per cent handmade and are done to perfection, the restaurant said.

    The Big Bang Series are made for true burger lovers who like to take the challenge of stuffing themselves with up to three patties at a time. The burgers also come with ‘Tiger buns’, which are available only at Charcoal Burger.

    Apart from that, Charcoal Burger also has a wide selection of burgers such as the Sunrise Egg Burger, Honey Cheese Burger, Mushroom Cheese Burger, and the Chees’in Chicken Burger.

    Charcoal Burger is open every Tuesday and Wednesday from 4pm to 11pm, while on Friday the restaurant is open from 3pm to 11.30pm. On Saturday and Sunday, Charcoal Burger is open from 10am to 11.30pm.

    Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

    Sunday, December 21, 2014

    Cultural Programs for Brunei's RTB, Malaysia's RTM and Indonesia's RRI

    Posted date: December 17, 2014

    | Rokiah Mahmud |

    THE Radio Services at the Radio Televisyen Brunei (RTB) played host for the ‘Program Budaya Tiga Serumpun’ with the Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) and Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI). The programme is one of the cultural activities between the three countries under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was inked in 2006.

    The recording session for ‘Program Budaya Tiga Serumpun’ took place yesterday at Sengkurong Community Hall. Present as the guest of honour was Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary (Media and Cabinet) at the Prime Minister’s Office.

    In his welcoming address, the Director of RTB, Haji Mohammad Suffian bin Haji Bungsu, said the programme is part of the effort in preserving ‘Pantun’ (Malay poetry), which has been inherited by the Malay community in the archipelago.

    “Apart from that, the programme also aimed to encourage the younger generation to uphold the values, beauties and prestigious contents of the style of language that is used in the ‘Pantun’ and the content of its philosophy,” he added.

    In relation with this, he continued, the broadcasting stations have a vital role and responsibility in preserving the cultural tradition so that it will not be extinct.

    In yesterday’s session, two programmes on ‘Berbalas Pantun’ were recorded for the upcoming new year 2015 celebration.

    The officers and staff from the three broadcasting stations will also be involved in radio drama production apart from visiting several interesting places in the Sultanate.

    Besides the ‘Program Budaya Tiga Serumpun’, RTB, RTM and RRI also conducted several exchange visits and organised a number of activities in promoting their respective culture. In addition, work attachments were also held for their respective broadcasting staff.

    In further enlivening the recording session, members of the Mukim Sengkurong Consultative Council also took part in the ‘Mukun’ and other cultural performances. The foreign delegates also had the opportunity to take a closer look at the local products that were produced by members of the council.

    Also present at the ceremony yesterday was Dato Paduka Awang Haji Puasa bin Orang Kaya Seri Pahlawan Tudin, Advisor for the Mukim Sengkurong Consultative Council.

    Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

    Saturday, December 20, 2014

    Brunei's $69m Women and Childrens Hospital Opens

    Posted date: December 19, 2014In: Headline, National

    | Achong Tanjong |

    A MOCK key presentation ceremony for the B$69 million Women and Children’s Block of Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital was held yesterday at the lobby of the new building.

    The new block is to meet the increasing needs of medical services for women and children that require systematic and complete medical treatment to provide better and quality health services to society.

    The new Women and Children’s Block is equipped with various high-technology facilities to accommodate the needs of women and children in the country.

    Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil was present at the event. The mock key was first presented by Awg Toshiya Sato, Managing Director of Tobishima (Brunei) Sdn Bhd to Dato Paduka Haji Idris bin Haji Abas, Principal Arkitek Idris, who presented it to Haji Marzuke bin Haji Mohsin, Acting Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional), Ministry of Development and who in turn presented it to the Permanent Secretary.

    Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila later presented the mock key to Haji Muhd Jamal bin Haji Tersad, Chief Executive Officer and Dr Ang Swee Hui, Medical Superintendent of RIPAS Hospital.

    The construction of the 11-floor new block is under the 9th National Development Plan (RKN) and has specialist facilities and services including the Paediatrics Ward, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Ward, Children’s Specialist Ward, General Paediatric Ward, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Special Care Baby Unit, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Oncology Ward (children), 13 suites (labour room), two operation rooms, Gynaecology Ward (private rooms), Doctor’s Office, Seminar Rooms, Prayer Rooms, Pharmacy, car park for staff and public and a café.

    Also present at the event yesterday were Deputy Permanent Secretaries at the Ministry of Health, Senior Special Duties Officer at the Ministry of Health, Haji Mahrub bin Haji Murni, senior officials and staff of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Development.

    Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

    Friday, December 19, 2014

    Healthy Lifestyle in Brunei

    Information Department promotes healthy lifestyle through sports
    Posted date: December 15, 2014

    | Rokiah Mahmud |

    THE Information Department in collaboration with Kampong Belimbing Subok Consultative Council yesterday organised a healthy living event dubbed as ‘Healthy Leisure Programme’. The event was held at the Tasik Sarubing Recreational Park in Kampong Belimbing.

    The programme was one of the strategic plans of the department in further fostering closer ties at grassroot level with the local communities through social and sports activities.

    The guest of honour at the event yesterday was Haji Mohd Rozan bin Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yunos, Permanent Secretary (Media and Cabinet) at the Prime Minister’s Office. Also present were Dato Paduka Haji Mohamad Roselan bin Haji Mohamad Daud, Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Mohammad Sunadi bin Haji Buntar, Acting Brunei-Muara District Officer.

    One of the objectives of the programme was to encourage the involvement of the officers and staff of the Information Department with the community both in Mukim and village level. The programme was also to promote a healthy lifestyle by being actively involved in sports activities.

    During yesterday’s activities, the guest of honour led the charity donation. Fund collected will be channelled to the Brunei-Muara District Orphans Fund. The guest of honour flagged off the participants of the three-kilometre hiking at Bukit Markucing. He also took a closer look at the facilities around Tasik Sarubing Recreational Park and visited the exhibition gallery.

    To further enliven the event, a tug-of-war match was organised between a team from Kampong Belimbing Subok led by YB Awang Haji Gapor @ Haji Mohd Daud bin Karim and the Information Department led by their Acting Director, Mawardi bin Haji Mohammad.

    There were also several activities that were opened for the participation of senior citizens, youth and children.

    Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    Jerudong Park Version 2014: Waterpark Opens

    JPCC opens gates to Waterpark
    Posted date: December 17, 2014

    | Azaraimy HH |

    THE gates to the Waterpark at the Jerudong Park and Country Club (JPCC) opened for the public yesterday seeing visitors lining up to play the slides and water games.

    The waterpark features plenty of exciting games for the young and the old to enjoy such as the aqua slides, waterfall jet, water gun, water mill, umbrella jet, interacting tipping bucket, pipe fall, net bridge, water volcano, interactive arching jets, floor jets, daisy shower and waterslides. It can accommodate up to 400 visitors.

    Visitors are urged to wear decent and appropriate attires, and to follow the rules and guidelines when using the facilities at the waterpark.

    Various facilities at the waterpark include nursing room, Surau, shower rooms and changing rooms as well as lockers.

    Additionally, visitors can purchase various items including souvenirs, towels, sunscreen lotions and many more at the Waterpark Shop located in the vicinity.

    Charcoal is the authorised café and restaurant serving light snacks and refreshment to all visitors. There are also a number of other cafes and restaurants selling various kinds of refreshments and meals.

    The Jerudong Park and Country Club is featuring its ongoing “December Holiday Specials” promotions throughout the month.

    The promotion offers entry tickets of $10 for adults, $5 for children and $5 for senior citizen, above 60 years old. Meanwhile, children below the age of two can enter for free.

    Throughout the month of December, the Jerudong Park Playground is open from 4pm to 6pm and 8pm to 10.30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, the operation hours are from 10am to 12noon, 1pm to 3pm, 4pm to 6pm and from 8pm to 10.30pm. The park will be closed every Monday.

    The visitors’ favourites include the 25-metre tall ferris wheel and roller coaster, and the country’s very first mini-golf course is an added attraction to the revamped amusement park.

    Thrilling rides and exciting activities at the playground include the laser maze, junior coaster, spin zone, jumper and go kart.

    Several other classic rides are also set up including the double-decker carousel, bumper cars and pedal boats.

    Members of the public will also be able to purchase tickets online via the official website a week after the opening.

    Check out all the fun activities on JPCC’s official Instagram and Facebook account at @jerudongpark and Jerudong Park and Country Club respectively.

    Traditional Brunei Dance: Tamarok

    Video on Tamaruk Dance

    Nurhamiza Hj Roslan

    Saturday, December 13, 2014

    IN THE old days, elaborate thanksgiving events were organised as part of the Dusun people’s old customs and tradition. A part of it lives on in cultural shows: the Tamarok dance.

    The Tamarok was associated with beliefs in animism and was organised as a means of giving thanks following the old beliefs of the Dusun.

    Nowadays, the Tamarok is still practiced by those who still follow the old beliefs, says Newas Ukoi, owner and manager of Bintudoh Green Spring Resort in Kampung Lamunin, Tutong.

    People can a have a glimpse into the Tamarok through the dance that is occasionally performed as a cultural show.

    The Tamarok is performed by female dancers, and what this signifies, Newas says, is that in the old days the female Dusun members carried out the activities of giving thanks. He says the belian or what were then regarded as priestesses of the Dusun were involved in the dances and making offerings.

    As a cultural show, the Tamarok dance is a window to an old world where the belian held ranks and their place in the hierarchy (follower, leader or higher) spoke of what activities they were supposed to perform during thanksgiving.

    Newas says Tamarok events varied in scale depending on the occasion. An example of a big Tamarok event would be the Tamarok Padi, normally held after the paddy harvest season, he adds. A Tamarok event can last up two days. The activities involved include dancing and the making of food offerings such as rice, fruits and coconut oil.

    Newas says in one Tamarok event there used to be many dances performed. Some of these were the Ibang-Ibang, Ancayau, Raja Lalu and Ngajat.

    The movements to the Temarok dance are not too complicated but it does require practice and there is no fixed number of dancers during a performance, says Newas. Among the musical instruments played to accompany a dance is the dombak (goblet drum), canang (small gong), gulingtangan, gandang and gong.

    Today, any dance that is performed as part of the Tamarok event is given the general name Tamarok Dance and when performed in public it mainly functions as a cultural show.

    When a Tamarok dance is performed, the dancers normally wear a black top with gold ribbon lining at the edges of the sleeves and a red skirt. Accessories include a hand-held fan and a cloth headband called an asyik. Dancers also wear a red selendang (a stretch of cloth worn on one shoulder).

    Newas explains that the red and black attire was symbolic of the clothes that the deities were believed to have worn. This attire, however, is not to be worn by anyone except for instances when a Tamarok event is held.

    The Brunei Times

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    Brunei Traditional Dance: Adai-Adai


    Sunday, December 14, 2014

    THE Adai-Adai is a traditional Brunei Malay dance that originated from Kampung Ayer. It depicts life in Brunei’s water villages and fishing as the main livelihood of people back then, says Haji Sisa Nayan, a 64-year-old musician.

    Zoom in on the movements of dancers performing the Adai-Adai and you would clearly see artistic depictions of life in a fishing community. Haji Sisa says that when you observe the Adai-Adai dance closely, you could see that one of the movements portray the use of an oar as if mimicking the movement of a person paddling a boat. The idea behind this move, he adds, could have been inspired by how mobility in the water villages in the old days depended heavily on paddling boats.

    The song also speaks of scenes between parent and child in a fishing village. Hj Sisa says the song has a message about an indung (parent) trying to get a child to sleep before going fishing to find rezeki (sustenance for the family).

    In public performances of the Adai-Adai these days, male dancers wear the traditional cara Melayu with the sinjang (traditionally woven cloth wrapped around the waist). Female dancers wear baju kurung and covered their hair with kain batik.

    Haji Sisa, a musician who plays for a traditional Malay orchestra in Brunei, says the Adai-Adai also refers to a folksong that fishermen in the old days sang to soothe themselves upon returning from a hard day’s work. - Nurhamiza Haji Roslan

    The Brunei Times

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