More Origin of Place Names in Brunei

Practically all Bruneians know Jalan Gadong - it is still considered as the business and commercial centre in Brunei even though a number of other centres such as Kiulap, Telanai, Delima Satu have sprouted up to challenge it. Ever wonder where the name Gadong comes from? A number of people I asked said that because the place was green, hence gadong as that is the Brunei Malay word for green. Some said that this was where the various properties of someone entitled Di-Gadong and gedong is the name of the stores. I said this too in a June entry when I wrote about origins of some Brunei places. Nice theories. Incidentally the English word Godown which is a storage place is derived from the word 'gedong' or 'gudang' and in turn probably originate from the Telugu word ‘gidangi’ or the Tamil word ‘kidangu’.

According to an old project by UBD which I stumbled upon on Brunei streets since I wrote in June was that the origin of the name Gadong is derived from a fruit called “gadong”, which grows along the riverbank at Pulau Sungai Gadong. The flesh is purplish in colour and edible by boiling it after soaking it in water.

Gadong saw rapid development in the 1960s with the construction of a bridge connecting Bandar Brunei and Jalan Gadong and the new government infrastructures built in the are including the Gadong Power Stations and later on the Police Headquarters and the Land Transport Department. Jalan Gadong itself was completed around 1967 /1968 and eventually connected to Jalan Tutong at the current Jalan Tutong/Jalan Gadong junction sometime in the early 1970s. Before the road was built, the only way to get to Gadong from the capital was by using a barge travelling along the Menglait river.

The road before you reach Jalan Gadong is Jalan Kumbang Pasang. Just for the record, Jalan Kumbang Pasang started after Jalan Dato Haji Basir (in front of St Andrews) and then goes all the way to the entrance to the Old Airport Government Building Complex. After that the road is called Jalan Berakas.

The road is named after a place called Kumbang Pasang which means 'eddy water'. Some also said that the name originated from the word kumbang for ‘beetle’. So far that's the best explanation I get. Anyway, this road is one of the first main road to be built under the Government's first RKN (Five Year National Development Plan) of 1953/1958. This road linked to the Berakas and Muara areas and by the late 1960s to the Gadong area and replaced an earlier temporary road built in the late 1920s to allow cars to travel through to a rubber factory at the Kampung.

With regard to another road in Bandar called Jalan Kianggeh - according to a book entitled "Dokumentasi", the author noted that the name Kianggeh may have been derived from a Chinese word 'Kiang' which means river. Though it also possible that the name Kianggeh may have been derived from the name of a person but so far nothing has been written about it yet.
Note: Illustrated photo is of an early development work for Jalan Sultan (circa 1950s).

PS. SSEAYP participants - Welcome to Brunei! I hope you are enjoying your stay here and all the best for the rest of the program. From the Ex-Brunei YL and Ex-Solid Group A Leader 1990. (For those who have no idea what SSEAYP is all about - link to my May entry about it.)


Anonymous said…
I spent part of my childhood at my late grandpa's house in Kumbang Pasang. From a quiet town, it has now become one of the busiest road to and fro Bandar. From only a few houses, it has now been replaced with apartments and flats.

I have always wondered what Kumbang Pasang means :)
Anonymous said…
Does the fruit still exist or has it almost gone extinct like the karamunting fruit?
anakbrunei said…
Here's a question, I know the area is called Kumbang Pasang, but why is it "Kambang Pasang" on one of the buildings which is visible from the flyover going towards the airport? Or maybe my eyes are playing tricks?
amyheidi: you might have to ask someone in the geography department when they did the project whether they checked that the fruit was still around.. personally i have never heard of the fruit myself.

anakbrunei: nope, your eyes are correct. it would be interesting to ask the building owner why he chose that name. i have always thought it was a spelling error but have never followed that up.
Anonymous said…
From what I have learnt, the name Kambang Pasang" is that of a flower/plant or fruit.. hence naming the building after that. However, I am have yet to actually find the flower/plant/fruit that is, that it is... :)

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