National Geographic and Brunei

I need resources for reference to write my articles both here and for my weekly newspaper column. Resources about Brunei unfortunately do not abound as much as other countries. Perhaps we are too small. Perhaps we are too uninteresting. Perhaps we do not have our own people write much about Brunei whether academically or otherwise. So any reference materials that I need I will search for.

National Geographic, the magazine which covers most countries around the world has not done any feature of Brunei lately. The last one they did was in February 1974, about 34 years ago. It came out in this issue. I bought this on ebay and this is also the first ebay item I have ever bought.

What did Messrs Joseph Judge and Dean Conger write about in their article entitled Brunei, Borneo's Abode of Peace?

What I found surprising or shouldn't really, is that, the article about Brunei can fit in today's modern Brunei. We have not changed that much really depite the 34 years. The article still made reference to our non tax paying status, our oil wealth, our shellfare state and the mosque. It was still a pleasant place for the writers to walk around, and to live. There were a score of handsome buildings being built, far too many automobiles and one of the largest memorial in the world to Sir Winston Churchill. This one has at least changed. Sometimes it's kinda scary when things don't change....

There were a number of photographs in the article. Some interesting ones including that of HRH Prince Jefri in a mod suit taken at a reception at the British High Commission. I was wondering what was in the mind of the writers then.

A number of them showed Brunei you wouldn't have recognised anyway whether then or now. These included photographs of the jungle, baboons and proboscis monkeys. Visits to long houses (the old ones, you wouldn't recognise today's longhouses), works of foundry and photographs of the army on training. In fact, to be honest, I wasn't sure where the article was going. It was just a plain old reporting about Brunei. Maybe that's how they do National Geographic articles in the 1970s.

The writers also visited Melilas and took photographs like this one.

Anyway, if it wasn't for some historical interest, I wouldn't really put all that much to this article on National Geographic. Search for it by all means and keep it but you wouldn't find it that interesting.


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