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

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Australia's TAP Oil in Brunei

I saw this on Reuters. I know about this a lot earlier obviously. But what gets me is that it took this long for Block M to be started since the award of the first operatorship. I do hope that TAP Oil will be able to do it soon. Their track record is amazing and they only have a handful of people to generate lots and lots of revenue. That's something our companies should emulate. And TAP Oil always reminds me of our own TAP. I hope no one confused the two when TAP Oil operates in Brunei son.

UPDATE 1-Tap Oil says gets 40 pct stake in Brunei field
Fri Sep 21, 2007 6:40am BST

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SYDNEY, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Australian oil and gas explorer Tap Oil Ltd (TAP.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Friday it has been awarded a 40 percent stake and operatorship of a block of an onshore oil and gas field in Brunei.

The block has reserves of between 10-50 million barrels of oil and in excess of several hundred billion cubic feet of gas, Tap Oil said in a statement.

The Perth-based company said the block covers an area of about 3,100 square kilometres and is located in the oil-rich Baram Delta province of the sultanate of Brunei.

Tap Oil, which has a market value of about A$305 million, said it was committed to investing about A$20 million ($17.26 million) over the next five years to appraise existing discoveries and exploration.

Shares in Tap Oil, which also has exploration interests in Australia and New Zealand, were up 3.2 percent at A$1.95 by 0533 GMT. ($1=A$1.16)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Unemployment in Brunei

Unemployment is an interesting issue especially for Brunei. No one really knows how many unemployed there are. We have job seeker registrants but not everyone of those is unemployed. And there are unemployed who are not registered. But then counting unemployed has never been easy as every country has a criteria of counting unemployment.

The more interesting thing is what is that country doing about it. We have about 6,000 vacancies in the civil service. The SPA can't process fast enough for all the jobs to fill as there are also about 600 to 800 retirees every year. And not everyone of the 6,000 jobs are for entry level graduates as some of them are very senior position or very junior position. The more junior the post the harder it is to recruit as there will be more applicants for the jobs - so the process of selection is longer.

That leaves the private sector. Is the private sector not big enough? Take out a small percentage of the 100,000 foreigners, there must be some jobs left over for locals?

Economic Growth Not Fast Enough, Say VC
By Shareen Han

Bandar Seri Begawan - Brunei's economy is not expanding fast enough to provide sufficient jobs for university graduates, said Universiti Brunei Darussalam's vice-chancellor.

It is a demand and supply problem, and some graduates are not willing to work in the private sector because they know that there are more benefits in the public sector, Dato Paduka Dr Hj Ismail Hj Duraman told The Brunei Times in a telephone interview yesterday.

"In the minds of locals, the private sector cannot compete with the public sector because it has more benefits compared to other countries that have a tax system," he said.

He said most locals need to "tackle their attitude first", in order to make the implementation of national policies more effective in the long term.

"It is a paradox that locals are not taking up the jobs, but foreign workers are taking it instead," he said.

One of the reasons why employers hire foreign workers is because they are cheaper and locals are too selective in choosing jobs which are mostly filled up by foreign labour, he said.

Moreover, some of the unemployed locals may come from well-to-do families, so they would rather enjoy life with their families, he said.

"There is no simple solution, a concerted effort by everyone is needed," he said, adding that graduates should be more proactive and take up any available job opportunities, including apprenticeship programmes.

"The attitude will only change when a crisis arises, because there is no shocking factor at the moment that they need to make a drastic change as the oil and gas is still there," he added.

The vice-chancellor said that one of UBD's roles is to equip students with the knowledge and skills, but employers are always looking for "something extra" in workplaces.

"Thus, I made the speech (at the 19th convocation ceremony) to graduates that they need to bring added value to the organisation that they work for," he said.

Dato Ismail also noted that UBD is currently doing research on unemployment in Brunei because the statistics that are currently available may not be accurate and regularly updated. There are 313 local jobseekers that fall under the technical, vocational and university graduates category, based on figures from the Labour Department for the month of June.-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bandar's Old Police Station

This is a building which was unfortunately destroyed in 1983. Prior to the 1984 declaration of Brunei's independence, the authorities needed to enlarge the padang area. This building stood in the way and it had to go.

Recognise it? This is the old Police Station in Bandar Seri Begawan. It was located in front of the SOAS Mosque - around where the Yayasan above ground car park is currently located. A new police station was built in the nearby Jalan Stoney. It's a pity that this station had to be demolished. It held many memories including that of being the holdout against the rebels in 1962.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Brunei in World War II

This 1945 photographs is one of the saddest period of Brunei's history. The Allied Forces in wanting to take back Brunei and the other regions in Southeast Asia proceeded to bombard the city which included the destruction of many buildings in Bandar Brunei including the old Masjid Pak Marbut in Kampong Ayer.

When the Allied Forces finally recaptured Brunei, this particular photograph showed just how much destruction took place in those days. Look at all the rubble around the soldiers.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Jalan Chevalier now known as Jalan Pemancha

This is a photograph of Jalan Chevalier, now renamed Jalan Pemancha. Imagine if you are standing next to the HSBC Building looking down towards the BIBD Building. This is where this photographer was standing. The Boon Pang Cinema is gone and that is replaced by the BIBD HQ. The building on the corner too have disappeared replaced by a building which I am not sure what it is called. But that building towards the bottom end of Jalan Cheavalier is still standing.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What happens when the Oil runs out?

The following article was written by Gavin Pao on 14 September 2007 and posted on Asia Sentinel, a news blog.

A short-term economic shock presages what happens when the oil runs out

Billboards and advertisements lining Brunei’s thoroughfares often implore their citizens to do something (or buy something) for the future generation. But, while most Bruneians have it quite easy, with free education and other heavily-subsidized services, the recurrent “future generation” theme implies a sense of apprehension.

On September 2, Brunei’s economy was reported to have shrunk by 3.6 percent during the first quarter of 2007 over the previous year. Oil and gas output plummeted by 9.4 percent during the period. Industry, agriculture, and fishing also contracted significantly, with the farm sector dropping 10.1 per cent in the first quarter, having shrunk 28.7 percent during the same period last year. Industrial output declined 8.6 percent from January to March this year, with mining, manufacturing, construction and electricity all posting downturns. Indeed, the only sector to record any growth during the first quarter was services, up 4.3 percent.

This is symptomatic of Brunei’s problems. The oil-rich sultanate’s attempts to diversify its economy to date have largely been based on encouraging the service sector. It has long promoted itself as a center for Islamic finance, and is making efforts to rejuvenate its tepid tourism sector. Special offers from Royal Brunei Airlines are often advertised abroad to provide a boost.

But oil has shaped every aspect of Bruneian life, from the 22-karat gold that coats the domes of the country’s biggest mosques, to the immaculately highways, reminiscent of Europe's best roads. The oil and gas sector accounts for roughly half of Brunei’s real GDP, and generates more than 90 percent of export earnings. And, as has been reported widely, Brunei’s crude deposits are running out. At the outside, they have perhaps 20 to 25 years left. Some estimates put the end of oil in Brunei in as little as seven to eight years.

Solely because it did not wish to share its massive oil wealth with the rest of Malaysia, Brunei refused to join the Federation of Malayan States when the British granted Malaysia independence in 1957. But it is clear that Brunei, with a native population of only 300,000-plus, must diversify its economy. It is an issue gaining increasing urgency.

Given Brunei’s relatively well-educated, cosmopolitan, English-speaking and largely urban population there is potential for service sector expansion. In late August, HSBC and Brunei Shell, the national oil company, teamed up to sponsor a youth business awards competition as part of an effort to spur entrepreneurial blood. It is one of scores of such competitions to try to shake Brunei’s young out of their torpor.

In addition, Brunei has embraced globalization the same way as other small, rich hubs like Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and Qatar, taking in large numbers of foreign workers to do lower-wage jobs.

Filipinos work behind café counters and in supermarkets, Indians dominate much of the city center. Nepali security guards are a common sight, and there has been a Gurkha camp here since the days of the British. The government can afford to pay for Australian and New Zealand natives to teach at university. Indeed, although Brunei abstained from joining Malaysia in the 1950s, it remained a British colony and protectorate until 1984.

The surface similarities between Brunei and other Asian hubs pretty much end there. Brunei has no hustle or bustle, no skyscrapers, little traffic or pollution, few factories, no bars (alcohol is forbidden), no legal nightlife. A large proportion of Bandar Seri Begawan’s 30,000 people live in clusters of traditional wooden villages, collectively called the Kampung Ayer, or water village, propped up on the riverbanks by wooden stilts and plank-ways.

These quaint dwellings do not represent poverty or backwardness, however. Rows of gleaming cars are permanently parked along the river banks, owned by those who live in the villages. Many locals choose to live a traditional and simple lifestyle, reflecting the innately conservative nature of Brunei’s social fabric.

This isn’t to say that Bruneians haven’t embraced a modern lifestyle. Most “traditional” dwellings come complete with satellite dishes. In coffee houses, teenagers surf the internet on palm-sized laptops. Women getting flying home from Singapore or Hong Kong often start out in sleek western clothing and change to shapeless Islamic garb in the airplane lavatories.

However, it could be argued that conservatism is an essential ingredient in maintaining a distinctly Bruneian identity. Adherence to strict Islamic codes of behavior is probably the most striking sociological difference between Brunei and Malaysia. Otherwise, the two speak identical Malay, albeit with differences in accent. Beef rendang and nasi ayam are both countries’ staple foods. Traditional lifestyle and national dress is similar, though not identical, especially in the case of the royal court.

Perhaps the second fundamental difference between Malaya and Brunei is the degree of reverence and extreme wealth accorded to the sultan. All royal ceremonies are conducted with much more attention to resplendence, opulence, and grandeur than in Malaysia.

A park right in the middle of the city center was built only to hold twice yearly celebrations, the country’s national day and the sultan’s birthday. It is otherwise always empty.

In newspapers, the front page article often begins with “His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, did this, went there, launched that, met so and so, etc”. Portraits of the sultan and his wife are even more ubiquitous than in Thailand, where reverence for the king is fervent.

There have been recent reports of virulent criticism from imams about young women being indecently dressed. Such attention to traditionalism means it is unlikely that Brunei would ever consider being re-incorporated back into Malaysia, even should its oil revenues one day slump to the point that the government loses its original raison d'etre for independence?

“Never”, said Rizal, a 28 year-old teacher, who waved away the question. “We’re a steady and stable country, and there is no reason to expect that to ever change, one way or another”.

Indeed, Brunei may arguably have the least active political culture in Asia.

“We will never merge with Malaysia. Most importantly, we don’t want all the problems, social and otherwise, that afflict all modern countries, which thankfully we do not face; prostitution, bad family relations, degeneration, pollution, crime, drugs, corruption, deforestation.”

Brunei is also fiercely proud of its distinguished history. The kingdom of Brunei once controlled all of Borneo as well as a large chunk of what is now the Philippines. It repelled Spanish attempts to impose Christianity on its society, and instead acted as the main conduit for Islam in today’s southern Philippine provinces.

So how can the economy be given some extra life?

Importing yet more foreign labor to make up for the shortfalls in the farm and industrial sector is an option, however it is unlikely given the already large percentage of foreign workers in the country vis-à-vis the native population.

Indeed social fragmentation appears to be an issue of sorts. Bruneians express disdain towards the foreign minorities, and the groups are fairly segregated.

Although Brunei's options are relatively limited, there is still good reason to be optimistic. The IMF expects that capacity in the energy sector will be restored this year, and that the non-energy sector will record new growth given stable national macroeconomic foundations, as well as other sources of revenue directly and indirectly linked to energy.

It thus predicts that Brunei's economy will grow roughly 2.75 – 3 percent over the medium term, based on further development of downstream industries in the energy sector and other energy-related growth, as well as new government development projects.

Meanwhile, new opportunities to develop the tourism industry have yet to be taken advantage of. There is no reason why Brunei should not be able to compete with the likes of Sabah and Sarawak.

It has some of the world's best protected rainforest, with numerous national parks, and an impressive array of fauna, flora and wildlife. One of the country's national icons is the eccentric-looking proboscis monkey, a now-endangered animal with a huge protruding nose that gives it an almost clownishly human look.

It has first-rate museums and some of the most resplendent and awe-inspiring architecture in the region. Its food is excellent, and strict food quality control ensures consistent standards of hygiene and freshness.

But again, there may simply not be enough hands on deck to create a fully thriving tourist industry. Moreover, perceived exorbitant costs in Brunei continue to deter tourists of all shades.

But what deals the biggest blow to tourism is that it is the only country in Asia that bans the sale of alcohol. Nightclubs and discos are non-existent. Bali, the Indonesian tourist hot spot, is a classic example that outlines the importance of making exceptions to alcohol-related rules in order to keep the tourists streaming in. Don't expect Brunei to make any such compromises at the expense of its way of life.

However, travel in Brunei is inexpensive if one avoids the hotels, taxis and tour agencies. Government-funded youth hostels are better value than those in neighboring countries, and the food is cheap if you eat at the markets.

Bruneians are generally open, friendly and helpful to tourists, perhaps because there are so few of them, and partly because of Brunei's tranquility and laid-back attitude, coupled with the fact that shopping malls are just about the only entertainment.

Meanwhile, it looks like there are gradual changes taking place with regards to the way things are being run in Brunei. Take a recent trip to Jerudong Park Playground, the huge Disneyland-scale amusement park born from the excesses of the infamous Prince Jeffri, the sultan’s brother, and his Amedeo Development Corporation, once the largest non-petroleum conglomerate in the country, which collapsed in 1998 after it was revealed that it had suffered tens of billions of dollars in losses.

The park is free to all residents of Brunei and has a rather surreal air to it, with fun-for-the-family style rides and entertainment provided on a huge scale. Many of the rides and entertainment facilities had actually been temporarily closed and were making way for new attractions and other rides. And apparently, once these are finished, shock horror, people may even have to actually pay for some of them.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Interesting Business News

I read this news on Channelnews Asia. Hmmm.... Rahaman.... Sounds kinda familiar, don't you think?

Swiber Holdings signs MOU for JV in Brunei
By Pamela Almeda, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 14 September 2007 2202 hrs

SINGAPORE : Mainboard-listed Swiber Holdings has signed a memorandum of understanding for a joint venture in Brunei.

Swiber will own 51 percent of the joint venture and Brunei-based Rahaman will hold the remaining 49 percent.

The partnership will enable Swiber to bid for projects open only to Brunei-incorporated companies.

Swiber is an integrated offshore engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commission contractor.

Rahaman in involved in the oil and gas commodity and trading business. - CNA/ms

Friday, September 14, 2007

More OPV stories

More on Brunei's OPV. This I found from a small newspaper named North West Evening Mail published on 31st August 2007.

THREE new state-of-the-art warships belonging to the Sultan of Brunei are now awaiting a buyer in Barrow.

The price could be around £600m which is what the Sultan of Brunei’s government paid to have them built by BAE.

The vessels were built by BAE Systems at Scotstoun, Glasgow, but Brunei has since decided it does not want them.

Barrow-based James Fisher and Associated British Ports, which owns the port, have bid to look after the ships on a care and maintenance contract until a buyer is found.

Despite being brand new and raring to go, the frigate-sized offshore patrol vessels were each towed by tug to Barrow — because none of them has a crew.

Brunei claimed the ships were not fit for use, an accusation denied by BAE and the issues went to international arbitration.

BAE said that resulted in Brunei having to make the final payment for the ships.

The Shipping Times publication said: “The vessels are amongst the highest spec ships of their type, and therein lies the problem.

“The Brunei navy wanted them to be stuffed full of the latest and greatest wizardry and they got it.

“Trouble is, they don’t have the personnel to man them.

“Initially the Brunei government said the ships were not up to spec, but that was dismissed out of hand not only by their builders BAE Systems, but practically everyone who knew a thing or two about the contract.”

It is thought the ships could be a feature of the Barrow scene for at least six months.

Kampung Bakut China

In one of my articles, I mentioned that the 'commercial centre' of the Kampong Ayer was Kampung Pekan Lama. Pekan Lama obviously being Old Town denoted that the place was the old commercial centre. However it was not known as Kampung Pekan Lama in its heydays. It was known as Kampung Bakut China.

Bakut is the Brunei word for sandbank. China is obviously Chinese. Kampung Bukit China is where the Chinese settlement is on a sandbank on the Brunei River. This photograph shows how the place looked like with its shophouses and everyone converging here. This is the beginning of the end of the padians on water. Even though they still existed but the Chinese shops with its many supplies and soon when they moved on to dry land would become to formidable for any padian.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

History of Brunei Newspapers

[Note: The following article was published on the Golden Legacy Column of Brunei's national newspaper, The Brunei Times on 7th July 2007.]

As ‘The Brunei Times’ celebrates its anniversary of being the new kid in the Brunei’s newspaper industry, it is worthwhile to look at how the newspaper industry have fared since newspapers began to be circulated in Brunei.

Brunei’s media industry is relatively new compared to many other countries. Despite Brunei being an ancient country, it is considered a new nation by some which it is. After the turbulence at the end of the 19th century where Brunei had lost practically most of its territories, Brunei emerged as a new nation, having the first British Resident in 1906 to set up the new modern administration, discovering oil as its new lifeline in 1929, writing its own constitution and self internal administration in 1959 and finally achieving its independence in 1984.

Likewise the newspaper industry only began after the 1950s. Before 1950, there was no other publication in Brunei other than the Annual Reports which are published by the British Colonial Office. The first other regular government publication was the Government Gazette which was first published in 1951. However the gazette was not strictly a newspaper, but an official publication for the government.

The first newspaper to appear was ‘Salam Seria’ published in 1952 by the British Malayan Petroleum Company, the forerunner to today’s Brunei Shell Petroleum Company. Being an official company publication, it delivered news and information to its staff as well as the general public regarding its oil exploration and other company news. Even though it was produced bilingually in English and Malay, the Malay version had added content of world news and educational materials. ‘Salam Seria’ became ‘Salam’ the year after and had remained until now. ‘Salam’ remained a free publication.

The second newspaper is today’s ‘Borneo Bulletin’ which first appeared on 7th November 1953. This English weekly publication was printed in Kuala Belait by the Brunei Press Company which was formed in October 1953. Borneo Bulletin was sold for 20 cents when it was first produced. At first most of its news concentrated more on news in Borneo with special emphasis on Brunei and its first publication run of about 3,500 was the largest in Borneo then.

In 1959, the founders of Borneo Bulletin sold the press and newspaper to the Straits Times of Singapore. The first bulletins were published with different covers for the three different editions for Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak. It publication increased to about 10,000 by 1957 but was reduced to about 6,000 in 1970 as a result of both Sarawak and Sabah being incorporated in Malaysia. However by 1983, production had increased to about 30,000 before gradually reducing to about 10,000 by 1997.

In 1985, Brunei Darussalam's first public listed company, QAF, took over part of the shares of Brunei Press from the Straits Times. By September 1990, the ‘Borneo Bulletin’ became a daily newspaper. At present, the circulation per issue averaged 20,000 copies daily while the Weekend and Sunday edition averaged 25,000 copies.

The third publication is the Government’s ‘Pelita Brunei’ which was first published in 1956. Pelita Brunei’s first issue on 15th February 1956 had His Majesty Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Saadul Khairi Waddien’s speech inaugurating the publication of the newspaper.

In 1957, ‘Pelita Brunei’ was produced twice monthly and was at first produced using A4 size paper before increasing in size to 9 inch by 14 inch in 1959. It was not until July 1965 before ‘Pelita Brunei’ became a weekly newspaper published every Wednesday and remained so until now.

In the beginning, there was only about 1,000 being printed by the 1990s, more than 45,000 ‘Pelita Brunei’ was printed weekly becoming the largest print publication in the country. The content of the newspaper increased from about 4 pages to about 24 pages now and with a second part being added to it containing all the government job vacancies and tenders being awarded in the government as well as other interesting features and articles.

A fourth publication was a short lived one called the ‘Berita Brunei’ which was first published in March 1957. It was printed in Malay and also partly in jawi. It was a weekly publication and was published every Thursday and sold for about 10 cents each with a print run of about 5,000. By July 1958, the jawi was dropped and by October 1959 it was renamed as ‘Berita Borneo’. However the newly named ‘Berita Borneo’ only lasted for 5 editions and the last publication was in December 1958 with the editor citing the drop in advertisements from Malaysia and Singapore as the main reason for its demise.

In April 1958, another publication in jawi started called ‘Malaysia’ printed by the Budaya Press. Sold for about 20 cents each, it too died by September 1958.

A publication by a former political party called ‘Suara Bakti’ was published on October 1961 and came out every Friday was the sixth newspaper in Brunei. It called itself ‘the largest weekly newspaper in North Kalimantan’ and sold for 20 cents each. However the newspaper came out sporadically and by December 1961 it only had about 10 editions. A new editor took over and that too lasted for only about 5 editions before closing down in January 1962.

A seventh publication called ‘Bintang Harian’ and ‘The Daily Star’ published in both Malay and English first appeared in March 1966. It appeared everyday except Sunday and cost about 15 cents. More than 10,000 copies were printed daily as it was published not just for Brunei, but also for Sabah and Sarawak, West Malaysia and Singapore. When it stopped publication in January 1971, more than 15,000 copies was printed. The publication stopped when the publishers The Star Press became a subsidiary of The Brunei Press.

Two other government publications, Brunei Darussalam Newsletter and the Brunei Darussalam Daily Digest were published in October 1985 and January 1990 respectively. The former continued being published but its readership is mostly made up of foreign readers and are seldom seen by local readers. The latter had stopped but efforts are in place to restart the publication again.

‘Media Permata’ was the latest of a number of local Malay newspaper when it began in January 1995 as a weekly paper focusing on local news and features for the Malay literate. It was relaunched as a daily newspaper in July 1998 and remained so until today with an average of 10,000 copies of Media Permata being circulated. Media Permata is available from Monday to Friday and a weekend edition is also available for Saturday and Sunday.

The last newspaper to appear before Brunei Times was the ‘News Express’. News Express started when the 20th Southeast Asian Games was hosted in Bandar Seri Begawan towards the later end of 1999 but by early 2001, it too joined the ranks of other newspapers which were unable to sustain themselves in Brunei’s competitive newspaper market.

And of course, the latest newspaper to join in the ranks of Brunei’s newspapers is today’s Brunei Times.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Where Malay words come from

I am writing an article about Jawi and the Malay Language when I came across this list of words. I did not realise that Bomba was a Portuguese word (what are we doing with a Portuguese language?) and that katil was a Tamil word.

aksi - action (from Dutch actie)
almari - cupboard (from Portuguese armário)
anggur - grape (from Persian انگور/angur)
bahasa - language (from Sanskrit bhāshā)
bandar - town (from Persian بندر/bandr)
bangku - stool (from Portuguese banco)
bendera - flag (from Portuguese bandeira)
bihun - rice vermicelli (from Hokkien bi-hun)
biola - violin (from Portuguese viola)
biskut - biscuit (from English)
bomba - fire brigade (from Portuguese bomba, "pump", or bombeiro, "fireman", lit. "pumper")
boneka - doll (from Portuguese boneca)
buat - do (from Sanskrit wuat)
buku - book (from Dutch boek)
bumi - earth (from Sanskrit bhumi)
cawan - cup (from Mandarin cháwǎn)
dakwah - sermon (from Arabic da3wah)
dewan - hall (from Persian دیوان/diwan)
duka - sadness (from Sanskrit duhkha)
dunia - world (from Arabic dunyā)
falsafah - philosophy (from Arabic falsafah)
gandum - wheat (from Persian گندمGandm)
garfu - fork (from Portuguese garfo)
gereja - church (from Portuguese igreja)
gratis - for free (from Portuguese)
guru - teacher (from Sanskrit)
had - limit (from Arabic hadd)
huruf - word character/letter (from Arabic ḥurūf)
ini - this (from Persian این)
jawab - to answer (from Arabic jawāb)
jendela - window (from Portuguese janela)
Khamis - Thursday (Arabic al-khamis)
kamus - dictionary (from Arabic qāmūs)
kapal - ship (from Tamil கப்பல் /kappal)
katil - bed (from Tamil கட்டில் /kattil)
kaunter - counter or desk (from English)
keju - cheese (from Portuguese queijo)
kemeja - shirt (from Portuguese camisa)
kepala - head (from Sanskrit kapala "skull")
kereta - carriage, car (from Portuguese carreta)
komputer - computer (from English)
kongsi - share (from Hokkien kong-si 公司)
kuda - horse (from Hindi kudh)
kuil - temple (from Tamil கோவில் /kovil)
kurma - date (from Persian خرما/Khurma)
lif - lift, elevator (from English))
limau - lemon/orange (from Portuguese limão "lemon")
lori - lorry, truck (from English)
maaf - sorry (from Hindi māf "forgiveness")/(from Arabic Ma3fu
maha - great (from Sanskrit)
makmal - laboratory Arabic
mangga - mango (from Portuguese manga)
manusia - human being (from Sanskrit manuṣya)
mentega - butter (from Portuguese manteiga)
mee/mi - noodles (from Hokkien miᴺ)
meja - table (from Portuguese mesa)
misai - moustache (from Tamil மீசை/meesai)
miskin - poor (from Arabic miskiin)
muflis - bankrupt (from Arabic muflis)
nujum - astrologer (from Arabic al-nujum)
nanas/nenas - pineapple (from Portuguese or Arabic ananás)
paderi - priest (Christian) (from Portuguese padre)
pau - bun (from Hokkien pau 包)
pesta - party (from Portuguese festa)
pita - tape (from Portuguese fita)
putera - prince (from Sanskrit putra "son")
raja - king (from Sanskrit rāja)
roda - wheel (from Portuguese roda)
roti - bread (from Sanskrit roṭi)
sabun - soap (from Arabic) sàbuun
sains - science (from English)
sama - same (from Sanskrit)
sama-sama - together (derived from sama via reduplication)
sekolah - school (from Portuguese escola)
sengsara - suffering (from Sanskrit saṃsara)
sepatu - shoe (from Portuguese sapato)
soldadu - soldier (from Portuguese soldado)
syariah - Islamic law (from Arabic shāri`ah)
syurga - Heaven (from Tamil சொர்கம் /sorgam)
syukur - thankful (from Arabic shukr)
singahsana - location (from Sanskrit singahsanam)
sistem - system (from English)
suka - happiness (from Sanskrit sukha)
tangki - tank (from Portuguese tanque)
tauhu - beancurd (from Hokkien tao-hu)
tarikh - date (from Arabic tārīkh)
teh - tea (from Hokkien tɛ)
teko - teapot (from Hokkien tɛ-ko)
televisyen - television (from English)
tuala - towel (from Portuguese toalha)
tukar - to exchange (from Portuguese trocar)
Agama - Religion (from Sanskrit agama)
unta - camel (from Hindi ūnṭ)
utara - north (from Sanskrit uttara)
warna - colour (from Sanskrit varnam)
waktu - time (from Arabic waqt)
wira - hero ([[from Tamil வீரா /veera]]
zirafah - giraffe (from Arabic zirāfah)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fishing in Brunei - Merigis

During the weekend, I got into a conversation with one of my older brother in laws and he started telling me all sorts of things that happened when he was still living there. The conversation went around to the subject of fishing.

He described a way of catching prawns called merigis. At that time I could not imagine it but he described as something that you go around in a boat making a noise using an instrument called rigis. Apparently the prawns could not stand the sound and out they will come and jumped into the boat! Your boat has to be appropriately fitted to catch the flying prawns.

I found a photograph of 'merigis' but I am still not sure what equipment 'rigis' is that can make a sound so terrifying to the prawns. More of this in the future.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Brunei Secretariat Building 1960s

This is a familiar photograph of the Secretariat Building taken most probably from the mosque. There has been a few of these photographs. But the most interesting thing about this one is to look at the background and the surrounding of the photograph. In the background, there is no Lapau. The old Istana Sugara can be seen behind the Post Office. Look beyond the Post Office at Jalan Kianggeh. Not much development there. I am not sure what building is on the current Electrical Department branch next to the Post Office. Anyway, next to the Secretariat Building, now the RTB Building, but then there was a government wooden house. So is the government barracks in the foreground. I know the barracks belong to the Royal Brunei Police Force. Surrounding the Padang, then were lots of trees.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Brunei Town 1960s

This is an interesting photograph of Brunei Town taken from the General Post Office Building and looking down towards Jalan Sultan. You can see the Padang on the right and an old cinema. On the left you can see the old HSBC Building, still low rise, no RBA Tower, and all the shophouses on Jalan Sultan still two storeys tall only. You can make out the Customs Warehouse at the end of the road. I am guessing this photograph was in the early 1960s.