Showing posts from October, 2010

BEDB Houses at Pandan, Kuala Belait

Yesterday was our second MOD visit to Kampong Pandan to visit the 2,000 houses that BEDB is currently building for us. Sometime last year, we visited them with the former Minister and at that time, other than a few sample houses, most of the houses were in various stages of completion. Unlike yesterday, it is the other way around, most of the houses are nearly completed. We even visited the inside of the houses where two of the houses were actually fully furnished. Complete with proper interior decoration and nice furniture, I thought the houses looked very nice. Altogether there are 2,000 houses being built. Currently around 1,700+ houses have been completed and there should be another 200+ houses left to be completed. There will be 800 semi detached houses of around 1,300 square feet area and 1,200 terrace houses of around 1,200 square feet area. The colour schemes for the interior of the house is very nice. Our own officers even want to take photographs inside the house. How about t

Brunei's Undistributed Stamps

I was really surprised to see this set of stamps. This set of stamps was supposed to be released in 1970 but it was never released. The stamps were supposed to have been destroyed but I guess with these sets in the market, someone somewhere decided not to destroy every single one. I came across this set sometime early this year when my dealer in Singapore showed the whole set and I paid around S$800 for the entire four stamps. When I told one of my friends in Brunei who specialised in antiques, he said I overpaid for it. It's difficult to estimate what the value is as these stamps do not come up for auctions that often. When I saw it on ebay, I was surprised and put up a bid for it. I was the highest at one stage but towards the end, there were just too many bidders, serious ones too. When the dust cleared, the stamps were sold for US$935 which is even way way what I paid for. Whoever bought it, congratulations, I do hope no more of these stamps will appear suddenly any more.

View from Bukit Salilah

I acquired this photograph off the internet the other day. When I first saw it, I immediately thought to myself, this must be the view from Bukit Salilah. That hill is about the most accessible from town and if I am not mistaken even before the second world war, there used to be built up there a telegraph tower. Though with all the old houses and buildings at the bottom of the hill, I am not really sure whether this is taken from there. Why don't you study the photo and let me know.

Borneo as the Homeland of the Malays

This book is a recent addition to my library. I bought it at Select Bookshop in Singapore for me to read on my trip to Melbourne and Brisbane recently. I have been reading up on the various papers on the origins of the Malays. It was not until recently that the experts have more or less agreed that the origin of the Malays were from South China in Formosa Island (Taiwan). The Proto-Malays as they were known migrated to the Philippines about 3,000 years ago. They moved slowly downwards towards Sulu and Borneo. This is where the Malay language departed. One group went eastwards towards Sulawesi and the Oceanic Pacific islands. The other group went to Borneo and settled there as well as go down the Borneo Island and ending up at Sumatera and the Peninsula Malaysia. Remember this process took years. By the 7th century, Sumatera had risen up and slowly too were the states of Malaysia. Influenced by the Indians and the Chamic empires, the Malay states rose too. By the 7th century, th

Ariani's Shawls - Malaysia's Hidden Treasure

My auntie introduced me to this shop yesterday somewhere near Masjid India in KL. I guess if you know KL, you know where this is, it's the place where most Brunei ladies go to if you go to KL. I told my auntie, I wanted to get some tudung and she said the best place to get it is from this place. The place otherwise known as Ariani apparently is the in-thing to get today's tudung. I remembered my better half mentioning about it but it didn't really click until I saw the shop which has apparently expanded from one pintu to about three pintu now. According to my Malaysian auntie, she has seen Bruneians buying tudung here by the bag loads. So I went in. I was a bit speechless as those Bruneians who have been buying them by the bag loads are clearly earning several salary scales higher than mine. The prices I saw ranged from about the affordable RM60 to the sky high RM2,500. Ekin, Mawi's wife is their ambassador. Though when I was there, the shop ladies were talking about Da

Briyani Gam

Day 4 in Kuala Lumpur. We completed our meeting yesterday which ended around seven in the evening with the closing ceremony. Today we had the field trip. There were three choices, one was to sanitary landfill in Bukit Tagar, the second to a Community Service Recycling Centre at Shah Alam with a visit to Jaring Metal Industries, and a third to the Integrated Centre for Scheduled Waste Management, Negri Sembilan. We split ourselves visiting the various sites. The landfill at Bukit Tagar is said to be the most premium of all landfills in the region and it showed. The second was interesting and I firmly believed copyable - the community has to be involved. The third is interesting too. In the evening, my Malaysian Uncle and Aunty took us out. This time we had another local favourite at a restaurant called Annur Briyani at Kampung Baru. Kampung Baru is interesting. It is a local kampung in the middle of KL and there are lots of food stalls here. Very interesting place. What I wanted was as

Greetings from KL

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur! I took a two weeks leave after Hari Raya so that my better half and I have time to visit our elderly relatives. We managed to visit quite a few of our elderly uncles, aunties and siblings. Some of them which we had missed over the last few years. I was glad I took that leave. Unfortunately I had to cut my leave short last week. I had to fly to Australia and Singapore with my other hat on as a member of the CSPS Board. The CSPS have two major projects this year, one was the Alternative Energy Study and the other is the Optimisation of Land Use Study. It was the latter project which I am involved in. That's why if you had been trying to visit updates for the last few weeks, I have not been able to update the blog as often as I would have. I was away on leave and then flying off to Singapore, Melbourne and Brisbane. I came back for just one day work and I had to fly to KL to attend the second meeting of the Regional 3R Forum in Asia organised by the Malays

Brunei's Connections

The Oxford Business Group reported on 30th September 2010 the following news: +++++ Brunei's Connections [photo is from] The arrival of a flotilla of traditional Filipino balangay sailboats in Brunei’s Muara harbour last month was not only a colourful display of seamanship – the boats are on a 14,000km journey around South-east Asia – it was also a reminder of the Sultanate’s plan to deepen trade and transport links with neighbouring nations. A significant contributor to the enhanced cooperation is the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) initiative. Launched in 1994, it seeks to boost economic activity between Brunei and peripheral states of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, since the states are economically distant from their countries’ main growth centres. The multilateral grouping includes the states of Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan in Malaysia, the provinces of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, West Papua and Papua in Indone

Brunei Darussalam 50 Years Ago

[This article was published in Brunei Times on 20th September 2010. I ran out of material to write and then I saw the 1960 Brunei Annual Report and had a lightbulb moment.] The Brunei Annual Report of 1960, exactly 50 years ago had a very short general review. Not only is it short, it was also toned-down despite the fact that the new Constitution was promulgated the year before. It stated: “The year showed a steady decline in the revenue of the State, due no doubt to the fall off in the production of oil and partly to the trade recession as a result of there being no new development plan being introduced by the Government. Retrenchment of staff in the Public Works Department has caused concern and until a new development plan is introduced this situation will not improve. The Public Works Department has virtually ceased all large-scale activities, and the two new hospitals which it was hoped to build have not eventuated. Brunei, under the new Constitution promulgated in September, 1959