Welcome to my private journal generally on Brunei issues. Any opinions expressed are in my personal capacity. All rights to the articles are reserved.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Brunei's 'New' Warships

I have always been curious as the three warships that Brunei is supposed to have bought. I know we paid a fortune for it. According to BBC the three ships cost the Brunei Government some GBP600 (about $1.9 billion our money). In 1998/1999, when oil price plunge to about US$10 a barrel, this price was more than what the government was earning in a year. I found two interesting articles. The first written about the ships sometime in 2003 and the second is what is happening to the ships now and written sometime Jun 2007.

(A) First Article - written by Dave Cullen [European WARSHIPS IFR magazine(*)]

Three new corvettes built on the Clyde for The Royal Brunei Navy.

BAE SYSTEMS Marine is completing contractor's sea trials of NAKHODA RAGAM, the first of a new class of three 95m Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) being built for the Royal Brunei Navy. She is due to sail from Scotland to the Far East by the end of the year.

The ships names are prefixed KDB (as in Kapal Diraja Brunei, which translates as Ship of the Rajah of Brunei) and BENDAHARE SAKAM, the second ship of the class, was launched in June 2001. She has completed diesel generator trials in dry dock at BAE SYSTEMS' Scotstoun yard and is under-going contractor's sea trials with delivery in June 2003.

The third and final vessel, named KDB JERAMBAK, was launched in June 2002 and is scheduled to be delivered in December 2003.

A variant of the generic F2000 series corvette design, Royal Brunei Technical Services Sdn Bhd is procuring the ships under a UK/Brunei government-to-government contract signed in January 1998. The design is a reduced version of the Lekiu Class built by the same yard for Malaysia and they have cost around US $350 million each. With a displacement of approximately 1,500 tons standard and 2,000 tons full load, the new Brunei OPVs have a maximum speed of 30 knots and a range of 5,000 nautical miles at 12 knots.

Endurance will be 14 days and they will have a crew of 62 (including eight officers) and 24 berths for Flag Staff and scientists. They are powered by four Paxman diesels turning two controlled-pitch propellers, and their hulls are fitted with fin stabilisers. One generator is able to meet normal loads. The new ships feature a comprehensive combat system based around the hub of an Alenia Marconi Systems (AMS) NAUTlS II command and fire-control system.

AMS is also supplying AWS-9(3D) E/F-band surveillance and target indication radar and two 1802SW radar trackers.

The vessels are armed with:

· Eight MBDA MM40 Block 2 Exocet Surface-to-Surface Missiles (SSMs).
· An MBDA Vertical Launch Sea Wolf installation containing 16 Surface-to-Air-Missiles (SAMs).
· A single Otobreda 76/62 Super Rapid gun.
· Two MSI-Defence DS 30B REMSlG guns.
· A Close-In Weapons System (CIWS).

A flight-deck aft provides for the operation of a Seahawk-size helicopter, but there is no hangar facility. Other systems include a Radamec System 2500 electro-optical director and TMS 4130C hull-mounted sonar supplied by Thales Underwater Systems (the sonar incorporates a torpedo warning capability). Thales Sensors is supplying its Cutlass 242 ESM and Scorpion jammer, and Wallop Defence Systems is providing the Super Barricade decoy system.

The Royal Brunei Navy

The three new OPVs will be based at Brunei's main naval base in Muara, in the South China Sea and represent a significant enhancement for a small fleet.
The Royal Brunei Navy has a total personnel strength of 800 staff (including 65 officers) and a Special Combat Squadron of six officers and 114 men for river duties.

The main threat has traditionally come from neighbouring Indonesia, although the Chinese are likely to pose a future concern and Islamic terror groups cannot be discounted as a security headache for the oil-rich sultanate. Britain has strong defence links with Brunei, with a Gurkha infantry battalion and an Army Air Corps helicopter flight permanently stationed there. UK Royal Marines regularly train at the UK's jungle warfare school in Brunei. The advent of the new corvettes will no doubt lead to regular exercises not only with regional allies, such as Singapore and Malaysia, but also with the RAN, Royal Navy and US Navy. Singapore maintains 500 troops and a helicopter detachment in Brunei.

By 2003 the Royal Brunei Navy will consist of:

3 x F2000 corvettes
3x Waspada guided-missile Patrol Craft, armed with Exocet Surface-to-Surface Missiles.
3 x Perwira Class inshore Patrol Boats.
2 x Amphibious Warfare Craft
2 x Landing Craft
17 x Small Armed River Craft (for the Special Combat Squadron)
1 x Support Launch
23 x Marine Police Patrol Boats.

(B) Second Article - from BBC News Website

Brunei warships to go on sale

Construction was completed at BAE Systems in Scotstoun
Three warships built at BAE shipyard in Glasgow for the Royal Brunei Navy are finally to be sold after a long-running legal dispute was resolved.
A £600m deal between BAE Systems and Brunei was signed in 1998, resulting in the completion of three coastal patrol frigates by 2004.

However the Sultan of Brunei claimed the ships were not as he had ordered, and they remained berthed in Scotstoun.

The arbitration dispute ended in May, allowing the ships to be sold on.

Following finalisation of contracts, the ships were able to be handed over to the Royal Brunei Technical Services (RBTS), which is the Brunei's equivalent of the Ministry of Defence.

A spokesman for BAE Systems said that the shipbuilders had been paid for the completion of the ships, and that the ships had now been handed over to RBTS.

He declined to comment on any alleged problems with the specification of the ships or on the company's relationship with Brunei.

A German company, Lurssen, is said to be acting as an agent for Brunei for the sale of the three vessels.

The ships, the KDB Nakhoda Ragam, KDB Bendhara Sakam and KDB Jerambak, were originally destined for the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) squadron of the Royal Brunei Navy.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Brunei's Currency Notes before 1967

The following article was published in The Golden Legacy column of the Brunei Times on 30th June 2007.

When His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam exchanged the new Brunei’s and Singapore’s $20 currency notes with His Excellency Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore on 27th June 2007 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between the two countries’ currencies, that day marked the first time that the Brunei currency shared a similar currency note design with another country in more than 40 years.

On that day, Brunei and the Singapore issued new $20 notes which shared the same reverse (back) design even though the obverse (front) of the two notes are different. The last time the currencies even shared the same design was prior to the 1967 issuance of Brunei’s very own currency notes.

Brunei’s currency had undergone many changes in the past. Historically Brunei’s ancient history, its long lineage of sultanate, its central strategic position in the trade between East Asia and Southeast Asia had meant that many goods and trades took place in Brunei as well as the circulation of many currencies such as those of China, India, the Arabic countries and the likes.

At the same time, the various Brunei’s Sultans also produced a number of their own coin currencies commonly known as pitis. Numismatists divided Brunei’s many historic coins into three – one made up of issues by known Sultans, a second made up of issues by unknown Sultans and the third made up of issues of flowers and patterns.

The last Sultan to issue his own coin was Sultan Hashim who issued the ‘star coin’ in 1886 which was minted in Birmingham, England.

When Sultan Hashim agreed to have the British Resident in Brunei in 1906, he also acquiesced that the other currencies used by the British in the Straits Settlement (Malaya), Singapore, North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak to be used in Brunei Darussalam.

By the beginning of the 20th century, there were a number of these currencies being used in Brunei. The Straits Dollar issued by the Straits Settlement government then included that of Queen Victoria used from 1889 onwards (together with notes issued by Chartered Bank and Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank); King Edward VII; King George V and King George VI.

Sarawak had issued its own currency too. Between 1858 to 1953, the various Rajahs of Sarawak - Rajah James Brooke, Rajah Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke, and Rajah Charles Vyner Brooke each issued their own coins and notes. The British North Borneo (Sabah) too issued its own currencies between 1882 to 1953.

In 1939, the Board of Commissioners of Currency Malaya was formed and it issued a new currency for circulation in Malaya (as well as in Brunei and Singapore) called the Malayan Dollar. However the currency originally printed in 1940 was short lived with many of the notes captured by German forces at sea and then in 1942, the occupying Japanese Government had issued its own currency notes popularly known as ‘duit pisang’ even though only one of the currency notes ($10) portrayed the picture of the banana tree.

The Malayan Dollar was revived after the end of the Second World War in 1945, the notes (dated 1941) and coins were reissued. One of the more popularly known coins then was the square ½ and 1 cent coin.

The notes were printed in $1 (blue), $5 (green), $10 (red), $50 (blue), $100 (violet), $1,000 (violet) and $10,000 (green) – the forerunner to today’s currency notes’ colours. The coins replaced the paper notes that were issued prior to the war which were originally issued because of the possibility of shortage of metal during the war.

The design on the currency notes had the portrait of King George VI and on the back, it had among others the crest of Brunei Darussalam as well as the crests of the various states making up Malaya and Singapore.

In 1953, the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Malaya and North Borneo was constituted. The currency notes featured Queen Elizabeth II and were issued at the same denomination as the King George VI’s issuance. Brunei’s crest was maintained at the back of the note together with other crests.

This new currency note replaced all the other currencies that had been issued by the Straits Settlement, the Sarawak State Government and the North Borneo Government. This new Board is now responsible for issuing new Malaya and British Borneo Dollar to be called officially as the Malayan Dollar meant for use by Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, British North Borneo and Brunei.

In 1959, the Board discontinued issuing the Malayan Dollar with Queen Elizabeth II on its cover for its $1 notes and later in 1961 the $10 notes.

The new $1 notes had the sailing boat (duit kapal – ship’s money - as some Bruneians called it) and the new $10 notes had a portrait of a farmer plowing with an ox (popularly known as ‘duit kerabau’ – cows’ or ox’s money). The latter can be found for purchase at the Tamu for more than $200 a piece now.

In between those years, the three countries, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore also signed the Malaya and British Borneo Currency Agreement of 1960.

In June 1967, the single Board of Commissioners was replaced by the three countries’ new bank and boards - the Brunei Currency Board, the Board of Commissioners of Currency, Singapore and Bank Negara Malaysia with each issuing its own currency.

However the Malaya and British Borneo currency continued as legal tender for a few years at a reduced 85 cents per dollar as the British pound which it was based on was devalued in November 1967.

The Brunei Currency Board issued the first Brunei Dollar on 12th June 1967 with the portrait of His Majesty Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III and maintained the same colour schemes as those of the last few issuances. Malaysia and Singapore also issued their own currencies on the same day. All three maintained the same sizes and the same colour schemes of the old Malayan Dollar.

The three countries also agreed to maintain the exchangeability of their currencies but Malaysia left in 1973 leaving Brunei Darussalam and Singapore to maintain its currency interchangeability agreement until today.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

History as a Shelter?

I wrote about a book called 'As the Future Catches You' in my used to be well known blog on The Daily Brunei Resources. Though in that entry I have never mentioned what was written about Brunei. In the book there are only two entries about Brunei. They both hurt. But then truth hurts.

One of the entry is as above. I am guilty of this as sometimes I tend to make a big thing out of history as if it is an achievement when in actual fact, the reality is no matter how much we make out of it, the truth is - we have always been behind other nations when it comes to development and progress. Perhaps if we all realised this, we can move a little bit faster.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Brunei Civic Centre

This is an old postcard showing the Civic Centre before it became TAIB's headquarters. Though with the HSBC building next to it, this photo does not seem as old as it should be. But if you look further towards the buildings in Jalan Tutong, the block of buildings are still just double storeyed and looking at the cars, this photo is about 30 years old.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kampong Ayer 1949

I bought this photograph on ebay. This photograph was taken on 29th October 1949 by someone called Lim Seng Lee who at that time works for the Sarawak Oilfields Ltd. Sarawak Oilfields was the forerunner to the Brunei Shell Petroleum. He sent this photo to someone called Cheah Thay Cheng who lived in 28 Busurrah Lane in Penang, Malaysia. All these were written at the back of the photograph.

Given that this photograph is almost 60 years old, it is still surprisingly good and very clearly shows the houses at Kampong Ayer then.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Origin of 'Brunei Darussalam'

[Note: The following article was published in The Golden Legacy column of Brunei Darussalam's national newspaper, The Brunei Times, on 23rd June 2007]

As one of the ancient kingdoms of the Malay archipelago, Brunei's historical legacy is long and can be comparable or if not exceeding that of other better known empires in the region.

Among others, its strategic geographical location and well sheltered harbour has made it a safe place for ships that ply their trade in the Southeast Asian region from as early as the 6th Century.

Brunei had been known by many names in the past.

In the Chinese historic annals, Brunei had been written about as far back as 1,500 years ago in the Liang Dynasty (502 to 566 AD).

Then the Brunei predecessor state of Poli sent tributes to the Chinese bearing the produce of the country.

Subsequent visits by other Chinese tavellers to Brunei included that during the Sui Dynasty (581 - 618 AD), in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 906 AD) and Sung Dynasty (960 - 1279 AD).

During those years, the name Poni had also been spelled as Bu-ni, Fo-ni, Po-ni and Po-lo.

It was recorded that the King of Po-lo had sent a mission to China in 669 AD.

The differences of the names are said to be caused by the changes of the Chinese dynasties, each preferring its own way of spelling.

The Arabs however called Brunei by other names including that of Sribuza.

It was believed that around the 7th century, Brunei was captured by members of the royal family of Funan who in turn had fled when their own kingdom was attacked by Chenla, another historical empire.

The captured Brunei was renamed Vijayapura which the Chinese referred to as Fo-shih-pu-lo and the Arabs rendered it as Sribuza but would have been pronounced in the tenth century as Srivijaya.

Other Arabic names for Brunei include ‘Dzabaj’ and ‘Randj’.

When did Brunei became Brunei?

According to the local historians as well as transmitted through the centuries and narrated in Syaer Awang Semaun, Brunei’s legendary epic poem, the name Brunei came about when it was discovered.

A group of 14 brothers led by Pateh Berbai and 90 dayaks went in search of a new place to live.

Then they were living in the present Temburong district area called Garang.

They landed at a place called Burit at the Brunei River and found that the place seemed to be the most suitable as it was flanked by hills with ample water supply and the river abundant with fish.

When they found the place, it was said that they exclaimed ‘baru nah!’ which loosely translated into ‘now we found it’.

The Brunei epic poem, Syaer Awang Semaun (translated) described the finding as:

Pateh Berbai then said,
We entered into the country of Brunei River
With a total of ninety in number
All of them were Sakai.

They rowed up the river,
And caught a lot of sharks and rays,
Pateh looked left and right,
For a good place to rest and open a country.

To Damang Sari, Awang Alak says,
After looking left and right with Pateh,
If Awangku agrees with me,
In Brunei we shall build a country.

Each member of the group set up his own house on the Brunei river and eventually more people came to stay there.

It was said that ‘baru nah’ over time became Brunei.

The move and the change in name was said to correspond to Chinese records of the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1643 AD).

It was stated that in the year of 1397, several countries which before then had stopped sending gifts to China had resumed sending gifts to China and included among the few was a country called ‘Bruni’.

It can be summarized that the move to the Brunei river and changing the name to Brunei took place around that time.

The Chinese later described Brunei as ‘Wen-lai’ and ‘Bun-lai”.

In historical annals around the region, in the earlier days, the word ‘Brunei’ appeared in many forms including as ‘Buruneng’, ‘Bornei’, ‘Burneau’, ‘Borney’, ‘Borneo’, ‘Bruneo’, ‘Burne’, ‘Bornui’ and ‘Bruni’.

However the Europeans called Brunei as Borneo.

Hugh Low in 1848 wrote: “… the name Borneo, by which the island has always been distinguished on European charts, and which was probably applied to it by the Portuguese from information received prior to any of their visits to the island, is a corruption of the word Bruni, the name of a kingdom and town on the N.W. Coast of the island – Bruni being called by the inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula …”

In another writing in 1812 by a J. Hunt, he says: “… Borneo was the name only of a city, the capital of one of the three distinct kingdoms in the island, ……. The natives pronounce Borneo, Bruni, and say that it is derived from the word ‘Brani’, courageous …”

However, if one is to trace through history, it is possible that the word Brunei could have come from other sources.

J.R. Hipkins wrote in 1971, that the word Brunei is said to have come from the Sanskrit word ‘Bhurni’ which means land or country.

Brunei could have been called ‘Karpuradvipa’ which means camphor land as camphor was one export which Brunei was well known for in the ancient days.

One J.H. Moor writing in 1871 noted that the Sanskrit word ‘Varunai’ means ‘seaborn’ – again another characteristic of the Bruneian of old – seafarers, mariners and living on water (Kampong Ayer).

Interestingly enough, one Leon de Rosny writing in Paris in 1861 noted that when the ‘Po-ni’ characters were transposed into Japanese Hira-Kana script, Po-ni became ‘Borneu’ or ‘Bornerei’.

And ‘Darussalam’?

It was said that the word Darussalam was used by the third Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Sharif Ali which is the Arabic word ‘abode of peace’.

However, according to Groenvelt writing in 1960 that in the Ming Shih, it was said that Emperor Yung-lo conferred upon the mountain range (Kinabalu) behind Po-ni the title of ‘Mountain of Lasting Tranquility’.

Lasting Tranquility translated into Darussalam and that in the Chinese records in 1408 Po-ni had been known as ‘Chang-ning Chen-Kuo’ or ‘City of Lasting Tranquility’ thus ‘Brunei Darussalam’ of today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Old Airport Brunei

This is another photograph of Brunei's old airport at the Old Airport Government Offices Complex in Berakas. This is of course now the headquarters of the Brunei Government Printing Department.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Brunei's Philatelic History

[Note: The following unedited article was published in The Golden Legacy column of Brunei's national newspaper The Brunei Times on 16th June 2007.]

Brunei surprisingly, was the last among the Borneo states to have its own postage stamps.

The Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) which included Kalimantan first issued theirs in 1864, Sarawak in 1869, the British Colony of Labuan, despite not being a state, in 1879 and North Borneo (now Sabah) in 1883.

We, in Brunei, only issued our first postage stamps in 1895 and even those were considered by the early stamp enthusiasts as unofficial.

Prior to that 1895 issue, the first postage stamps used in Brunei were the Sarawak stamps which were used in Muara, then known as Brooketon, as Rajah Brooke ran the coal mining operations there and used those stamps for the postal service in the community from 1893 to 1907.

The first Brunei stamps in 1895 were considered as controversial and known in the stamp world as the 'Brunei Locals'.

Printed in Glasgow by the Manager of the Central Borneo Company of Labuan, a John Robertson who managed to get a monopoly concession from His Majesty Sultan Hashim, (the government gets all internal revenues but he gets all external revenues) was considered as purely speculative.

According to a book about Brunei entitled “On the Fringe of Eastern Seas: The City of Many Waters” written by Peter Blundell, published in 1924, John

Robertson ‘persuaded the Sultan to accept payment for the monopoly with stamps at their face value which he got printed in Germany for a trifling sum.’

The stamps could only be used in Brunei and were unfortunately labeled 'bogus' in its early history.

For Brunei letters to be sent abroad, they had to have additional Labuan stamps as Brunei then was not a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU).

The Brunei/Robertson’s postal services were also described at best 'spasmodic' during its life but it was the first postal service for the country nevertheless – it ended sometime 1902/3 when John Robertson was transferred to Taritipan in Marudu.

In 1906, the Brunei government started to operate its own postal service.

However the first postage stamps that were due to arrive in Brunei from United Kingdom did not arrive on time and the solution was to overprint the Crown Colony of Labuan postage stamps with the word BRUNEI in Singapore.

The first of these stamps were used in the inauguration of the Post Office located in the Customs House on October 11th, 1906 (some historians argued that it was on October 15th).

In the beginning, the stamps were scarce as collectors and dealers were heavily speculating on the value of the stamps by buying up quantities of the mint stamps for investment.

By 1907, the first official Brunei stamps had arrived known as the Brunei River Type as the stamps depicted a typical Brunei river scene.

A London company, Messrs De La Rue & Co Ltd printed the 1907 stamps and interestingly enough this same company carried on printing other Brunei stamps until about the 1970s.

Between 1908 and 1920, the stamps colours conformed to the UPU requirements of three standard colours - one for printed matter, another for postcard and the third for single letters.

In those days, unlike today's multicoloured and multi-image stamps, the colours were standardised to help assist international recognition of the three classes of mail.

Uniformity of colours was also carried out under the colonial colour scheme so the colours also conformed to their counterparts under the Straits Settlement.

However for today’s stamp collector, it can be quite confusing as there was a proliferation of colours with a number of the stamps undergoing changes in colour – for instance, the 1 cent stamp originally appeared in black and green in the 1907 issue but in subsequent years, in other colours such as all black and all brown.

Postal services in Brunei’s other major towns began son after 1906 with the Tutong Post Office opening in 1908, Bangar in 1909, Belait in 1910, Seria in 1933 and Labi not until 1956.

During the First World War, for the third time in its history, (the others being the Sarawak stamps in Brooketon and the Labuan overprints) Brunei used a different country’s stamps – the Sarawak stamps were used in Brunei as the stock of stamps in Brunei ran out.

In March 1924, a new design was introduced as well as a change in size.

The new stamps showed a panoramic view of Kampong Ayer with Brunei Town in the background.

The designs were adapted from a sketch made by Mr. LA Allan, a former British Resident who in turn took it from a photograph taken by the Mr. Pretty, another former British Resident with the view from Bubungan Dua Belas, then used as the official residence of the British Resident.

When the Japanese occupied Brunei during the Second World War, the Japanese government found and used unused Brunei stamps in 1942 and overprinted them with the words Imperial Japanese Government in Kanji characters.

These stamps were originally sent to Brunei in 'changed colours' and were deliberately unused until the existing stocks had run out.

During the British Military Administration after the end of the Second World War, the three Borneo states used the stamps of Sarawak and North Borneo overprinted "B.M.A." until 1947.

The first commemorative stamps were those that were used to commemorate Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin's Silver Jubilee on 22nd September 1949 (it was supposed to be released on 20th September 1949 but delayed due to public holidays).

The design was similar to the 1924 stamps but with the portrait of His Majesty Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin, the 27th Sultan of Brunei, marking the first time a ruling monarch of Brunei appearing on the stamps of Brunei.

Another release in 1949 was to commemorate that of the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Postal Union.

It wasn't until 1952 before the government issued the first Brunei stamps with the portrait of His Majesty Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saiffudien, the 28th Sultan, thus beginning the modern era of Brunei postage stamps.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Our Mosque

Study this photograph. Look at it. What's wrong with this photograph?

Most people don't realise it. What's missing from this photograph is the stone bahtera or astaka in the middle of the lake. From this angle, the astaka would have loomed large in any photograph you take. Many don't realise that the astaka was actually built about 9 years later after the completion of the mosque. The mosque was completed in 1958 whereas the Astaka was built in 1967.

The Astaka was actually to commemorate the 1,400 anniversary of the relevation of the Al-Quran - Nuzul Al-Quran. Some literature make a mistake by saying it's the 1,400th anniversary of the Hijra. It is the Nuzul Al-Quran which is some years before our Prophet Nabi Muhammad SAW made the historic hijrah to Medina.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Old Brunei Wharf

I guess I don't update this blogsite often enough. Anyway, I found this interesting old photographs of the Brunei Wharf. I am guessing that was the original wharf on the right hand side of the photo. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

APEC at Mount Coolum, Australia

Greetings from Hyatt Regency at Mount Coolum, Queensland, Australia. I had photographs but apparently I did not have the most important USB link to my camera so no uploads. The photo up there is that of Mount Coolum Golf Course - home of the Australian PGA Tour. Played there yesterday with my colleague and we found it to be an easy course. Nearly got a couple of pars but my colleague got 6. Later on we found other people who played there and says that the course is challenging. Huh? My colleague figured that we have played too much golf at RBAGC and Empire which are more challenging that even Australian PGA Tour course is not challenging anymore.

Coolum is one of the many small beach towns along the Sunshine Coast which runs from Colundra up to Noosa. Coolum is somewhere halfway. There are three counties - Colundrashire, Maroochyshire and Noosashire and Coolum is in Marcoochy. The nearest town to Hyatt Regency is either Coolum Beach or Mudjimba but the biggest is in Maroochydore. The stretch of the beaches of these three shires make up the Sunshine Coast which is to differentiat from the Gold Coast further south. The Sunshine Coast looked at the moment not as crowded as the Gold Coast and there isn't as much entertainment. But I guess it's worthwhile to have a holiday here.

Two of our meetings are over - the drafting committee and the deputies. Tomorrow will be the start of the ministers. Friday evening, we would be on the flight back to Brunei.