Showing posts from June, 2011

When did formal education begin in Brunei?

My colleagues at MOE was asking me the other day when exactly did formal education started in Brunei. I understand MOE wants to celebrate the 100th anniversary of formal education but the exact date is not known. All I can answer is that refer to the Brunei Annual Reports. However the Brunei Annual Reports in those years have not been reporting much on education. By 1911, the British Resident had been running the government for five years and they are still focused on many other issues, the utmost important was how to raise money. Remember in those days, the Brunei government had to repay back our loans to the Straits Settlement Government and was not exactly flushed with money. In 1911, the Brunei Annual Report recorded the following for education:- "Preparations were made to start schools in the new year. It is most difficult to find any one who can read or write amongst the Brunei Malays so this has led to the employment of foreign Malays." For the next two years, the Brun

Royal Brunei Airlines

RBA's latest strategy had many Bruneians talking. eTurboNews, the Global Travel Industry News had this article about the airlines which probably can answer why the RBA Board did what it did. You can link to the etn website or read it below: +++++ ROYAL BRUNEI AIRLINES IN TROUBLE Royal Brunei pays the price of decades-long wrong strateg BY LUC CITRINOT, ETN | JUN 23, 2011 BANGKOK, Thailand (eTN) - Arrogance? Probably. Lack of vision? Certainly. Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) remains a mystery among Southeast Asian carriers. The carrier serves Southeast Asia’s second wealthiest country after Singapore with a GDP per capita of over US$20,000. But at the same time, the Sultanate of Brunei is one of the least-populated countries among ASEAN members with a population of 360,000 inhabitants. Although Brunei's population is small, the airline’s catchment area is rather attractive. Brunei is the only independent kingdom located on Borneo Island with its population of 20 million inhabitant

Getting Around in Brunei

I was reading Brunei Times today and came across this article written by Melvin Jong which I thought is a topic which we have not discussed about much. Unless you have a car, it is not easy getting around Brunei. Most Bruneians have cars so don't worry much about public transportation. The purple buses system work only if you need to travel during the daytime but come evening, you will not be able to get anywhere. But even for those with cars, the traffic jams are our bane early in the morning, lunch time and dinner. +++++ Melvin Jong BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN Thursday, June 23, 2011 THERE is still much to be done to improve Brunei's public transport if it is to one day become a fixture and promoter of our tourism industry. Much has been said about Brunei's public transport system, some of which is encouraging but mostly, unfortunately, is not encouraging. Responses from the relevant authorities have always stated how the set-up is either trying or 'currently is in the proces

1,000,000 visitors!

Sometime last night, someone was this blogsite's 1 millionth visitor! It has been a long journey on Moved from Windows spaces in March 2006, it has been 5 long years on blogspot. Thank you to all visitors and I do hope that you find what you are looking for.

Brunei: Long Term Plan

The Oxford Business Group reported the following about Brunei on 21st June 2011: +++++ Brunei Darussalam: Long-term plan Brunei Darussalam has adopted a determined bottom up approach to ensuring the comprehensive spread of information and communications technology (ICT) throughout society and the economy, though sector participants expect it will take time for these policy actions to transform the status quo. Brunei Vision 2035, the blueprint for national development for the first third of the century, places strong emphasis on becoming a knowledge-based society. This vision foresees the Sultanate building a solid technology backbone, encouraging an awareness of the opportunities offered by ICT in daily life and providing citizens with the skills to best take advantage of these opportunities. One of the cornerstones of this policy is e-Hijrah, a six-year programme that will deploy the full resources of the Ministry of Education (MoE) to develop a coordinated effort to integrate ICT int

Pigafetta, Brunei's 15th Century Chronicler

My article below was published in Brunei Times on 13th June 2011: +++++ Cavallero Antonio Pigafetta Brunei’s 15th Century Chronicler One of the most vivid descriptions about Brunei in the 16th century was provided by a European voyager named Pigafetta. Pigafetta was an Italian but was part of a Spanish crew exploring the Indies. On the return voyage to Spain, they travelled via the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It was during the return trip to Pigafetta stopped in Brunei and described Brunei very clearly. It was his description that many historians quoted quite extensively. His description is very comprehensive and covered many areas including the first description the city entirely built in salt water. Parts of his description of Brunei include the following description of Kampong Ayer: “The city is built in the sea, the King’s palace and the houses of the principal persons excepted. It contains twenty-five thousand hearths or families. The houses are built of wood upon large piles, to

Brunei Economy's Report

Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released the following report about Brunei: IMF Executive Board Concludes 2011 Article IV Consultation with Brunei Darussalam On May 4, 2011, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Brunei Darussalam on a lapse˗of˗time basis. Background Brunei’s economy is dominated by the oil and gas sector, which contributes nearly two thirds of the nominal income. Oil and gas exports earned about 95 percent of Brunei’s export revenues, and generated about 90 percent of government revenue. Per capita GDP is one of the highest in the world (estimated at US$32,000 in 2010). The authorities have adopted a prudent fiscal strategy to save oil revenues for future generations, mainly through the General Reserve Fund managed by the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA). Economic growth rebounded strongly in 2010 after two years of decline, mainly due to the recovery of oil and gas production. Real GDP r

Brunei's Ongs

Last Friday, I was waiting in the car waiting for my better half who was out shopping for some groceries. I heard an interesting interview with Dato Chef Wan, the famous Malaysian chef who was in Brunei last week. One of the things that struck me was he noticed that many places in Brunei have 'tong' at the end of the names. I think he was referring to Jerudong, Gadong, Tutong or Kiarong, these are more or less the famous places in Brunei that one can go to. I was thinking that Chef Wan is correct. There is a lot more and I sent out an sms to fellow colleagues and friends and I compiled the list as follows. Nama-Nama Tempat di Brunei hujungnya ‘-ong’ 1. Gadong 2. Tutong 3. Jerudong 4. Temburong 5. Sengkurong 6. Bengkurong 7. Kiarong 8. Mumong 9. Layong 10. Pengkalan Dong 11. Batong 12. Serawong (Bukit) 13. Bukit Nibong (Kampong) 14. Belalong 15. Baong 16. Ukong 17. Basong (Sungai) 18. Riong 19. Selirong 20. Belayong 21. Maraburong 22. Penanjong 23. Pelumpong 24. Bakong 25. Perak

Old Brunei Hostel in Singapore Revisited

I was pleasantly surprised when someone commented on my old 2008 post about the old Brunei hostel in Singapore . He thanked me for sharing the history of this place, a home to many of us who had been students in Singapore, a home where we grew up in and literally became adults. I spent almost 7 years of my life here and by the time I went to UK to continue my degree, I was more than ready to face life in UK. This photographer, a Canadian, somehow managed to get into the grounds of the now abandoned hostel and took many photographs of the place. When I saw the photos on his facebook site, it was very painful. I remembered the place in the 1980s and yet looking so abandoned, it was so sad. I could almost imagine myself in one of those rooms, having dinner and attending tuition classes. Click on the old post and then go to the comments. You will get the link to see the rest of the photographs. This photographer is a great photographer. Recently a number of alumni visited Singapore. Unfort

An Unknown Republic in Borneo

[I was asked by BT to write about the Lanfang Republic. I was not sure how to approach that subject as resources on this is very thin. I had to borrow heavily from a number of on-line articles but I thought I balanced it when I finally wrote about it. Credit for the story goes to the people who had kept the republic alive in the digital world. Here is the story of the Lanfang Republic and this was published in my Golden Legacy column in Brunei Times on 23 May 2011.] +++++ The Lanfang Republic by Rozan Yunos If one can travel through time, one interesting destination is 18th century west Kalimantan in Borneo. More than 200 years ago, this part of the Borneo Island was well known for its mineral deposits which were mostly gold and tin. There were already a number of sultanates established in this part of the Borneo Island then. Every single one needed labour to work in the mines. There were three sultanates at that time. The boundaries of the Sultanates were not clearly defined. This led

Brunei Legislative Council, 2011-2015

SPEAKER OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Bakti Diraja Dato Laila Utama Awang Haji Isa bin Pehin Datu Perdana Menteri Dato Laila Utama Haji Ibrahim +++++ MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL - Ex-officio Members (Prime Minister and Ministers) as provided for under sub-paragraph 1(a) (i) of the Second Schedule of Article 24(1) His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Minister of Finance His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince, Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Ab