Building Brunei in the 1950s

I recently received a note from a Mr Sun-Hoo Foo which talked about my books, the Golden Warisan Volume 1 and 2. But most importantly he was talking about his father which I took the liberty to quote as follows:-

Your article 7 on the Mosque in the Capital is most interested to me, since our family is tied most closely to the construction of this magnificent mosque. My father Foo Hong was the Chief Draughtsman of Booty & Edwards, who was the architect firm for most of the major Brunei public works in the 50+. My father recently published his memoir in Chinese and took me around to show the differnet goverment buildings that his firm had designed.

According to him, he was assigned with the job of building the mosque while he was in Kuala Lumpur. He studied various design and came up with the main Golden dome etc. He then spent months, worked with a young man, constructing the model of the mosque and personally presented to the Sultan and his council and got final approval. After that he was stationed permanently in Brunei supervising the construction and other government buildings. Later, he spent many years making models of the mosque so people may keep one in their house. I don't know how many survived, but I have one in USA and the one he spent so much time finalized was presented to the Sultan, and that may still be in the archieves some where.

Things have changed so much and I am not sure how many of the government buildings will survive into the future. Of all the things, I am most interested in the roof of the lapau and that clock at the center of the town.

Mr. Foo invited me to talk to his father and I will certainly try to do that. Mr Foo Senior is certainly in the position to talk about his experiences on the post World War II development of Bandar. In fact, most of the buildings in Bandar was developed during the 1950s and 1960s. Other than the commercial buildings and the extension to the State Secretariat now used by MOHA, I cannot remember any other building in Bandar not done during those times. This is Mr. Foo Senior with a model of SOAS Mosque which he personally handcrafted.


Bruneian Dollar said…
Wow! Now I'm really more interested in how Brunei was born. Other than the Sultans that lives here. I'm talking about how it was developed and who, by our forefathers hands, build the place? Like who build the mosque in KB? Tutong? Temburong, maybe? Keep it up BR. Will be reading more of your posts ;)
BruneiTown said…
Thank you Foo Senior for the majestic landmark that'll forever be beautiful! & Thank you Foo Junior for sharing your fathers story! & Thank you BR for writing up on the nostalgia of our times!
Foo Genealogy said…
Mr. Rozan Yunos

Thank you for posting my note on your site " Building Brunei in the 1950s". My father left Brunei and I am not sure when he will be back to Brunei to stay with my younger sister and Brother. He spend a few months here and there with different children. I don't have the luck since I am so far away in New York City. Your site is very well known, for I was immediately informed regarding your post and that you may be interested to talk to dad by my brother, Pyng, who works in Century travel. As soon as he plans to return home to Brunei, I will alert you and hope you two can meet regarding his accounts of the buildings in the 50. He recently published his chinese autobiography in and part of it regarding his experience in Brunei.
I don't have your email address, so I will try to leave note on your site, or you could forward your contact to my where I post a blog in progress regarding Foo Genealogy-- We are so fortunate to trace our Ancestry to the First Foo in Qing2 Dynasty in 221 BCE.
I my self graduated from Chung Hwa Middle school in Brunei back in 1964 and then continue studies in Taiwan. Many of us returned (unfortunately , I was unable to ) and contributed their Talents to Brunei. I remembered studied in Chung Hwa around the wooden classrooms with windows opened by a stick from below and the window will closed automatically by gravity when the stick was removed. The alumni have a site:, email: I am forward this note to them. They may have the old buildings pictures and how that transform to the current one and what happened to the site.


sun-Hoo Foo

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