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Almost 2 hours

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Korean Embassy new chancery 


The ground breaking ceremony which took place two days ago. Image courtesy of James Jon of Borneo Bulletin.

Cho Won-myung, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Brunei Darussalam (right) handing over a token to guest of honour Hj Adnan bin Haji Mohd Jaafar, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Image courtesy of James Jon of Borneo Bulletin.

Korean Embassy will be having their new chancery. Chancery means office or department of a chancellor. Apparently this is a 5 year project of the new chancery and also the ambassador’s residence. There was a signing agreement between South Korea and Brunei Darussalam for the lease land for the construction of premises on June 5, 2012.

Currently their embassy and residence is located at Jalan Muara. So when the project is completed by October 2016, the Korean Embassy will shift their embassy and residence at Jalan Kebangsaan.

The ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the new chancery was officiated by Hj Adnan bin Haji Mohd Jaafar, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who was the guest of honour. Accompany him was Cho Won-myung, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Brunei Darussalam.

Located in a separate plot of land, the chancery has a total land area of 4,250 square metres while the ambassador’s residence has a total area of 6,070 square metres.

The contractors and subcontractor involved in the project are Setia Makota, Soosung Engineering and Gemilang Latif Associates.

According to the Ambassador, this will be the first property owned by the Korean government (in Brunei) and this is a symbol of the bilateral relationship between two countries. He believes this will play an important role as a centre for cultural exchange, people-to-people interaction, business and political communication.

Now I just hope there’s a direct flight to Seoul in the near future :)



The new Korean Embassy Chancery (office) to be completed by October 2016. Image provided by the Korean Embassy in Brunei Darussalam.

The new Korean Embassy Chancery (residence) to be completed by October 2016. Image provided by the Korean Embassy in Brunei Darussalam.


The Only Way is Up 


Alice Chan of Concepts Technologies, Haniza Zakariya, the country manager of Microsoft Brunei and Mr. Vincent Pao, General Manage of Concepts Technologies during the announcement of the Microsoft Distributorship recently. Image courtesy of Concepts Computer.

For the first time in the existence of Microsoft (Brunei), they have given the local distributorship to Concepts Group of Companies which will be under the flagship of Concepts Technologies. For many years, there have been one distributor in Brunei Darussalam but this time round, Concepts Group of Companies have been chosen as another distributor because of their exceptional track record in Brunei Darussalam for the past 15 years.

A few days ago, Haniza Zakariya, the country manager of Microsoft Brunei and Mr. Vincent Pao, General Manage of Concepts Technologies had a press conference to announce the official distributorship of Microsoft. Haniza believes that the leading IT retail company can help tap in the Brunei economy and increase the productivity of Microsoft. She also believes that despite the economic setback (oil prices and budget cuts), technology is still relevant as everyone uses it.

This is a strategic move by Microsoft Brunei as Concepts Technologies will be able to create an ecosystem through means of hardware, software, training, licensing and many more. I believe this will also help to drive and educate the public on the copyright issues.

Since year 2000, Vincent Pao has a strong philosophy that he won’t sell pirated software or sell his Acer computers with a pirated pre-install Windows or Microsoft office despite the fact back in those days, the local consumers prefer pirated softwares over original ones. He has maintained that commitment to this very day and still continuing.

Furthermore, Concepts Commercial Suppliers was given a certificate of recognition for selling genuine Microsoft software. Only two companies in Brunei Darussalam achieved this recognition and Concepts Computer was one of them. This was awarded back in December 2014 and to achieve this award is no easy feat due to the high piracy in softwares in Brunei alone.



The beginning of lasting relationship between Microsoft and Concepts Technologies. Image courtesy of Concepts Computer.

The man behind Concepts Group of Companies and Microsoft will be distributed under the flagship of Concepts Technologies

Last December, Concepts Commercial Suppliers got recognized by Microsoft for continuing selling genuine products in Brunei

During the launch of Microsoft Office 365 earlier this year

Mr. Pao has a vision for Concept Technologies to become a trusted and reliable distributor and serve their strategic partners and resellers and this, in turn, will give more confidence to the consumer end. The product of Microsoft are as always reliable and has become part of our daily lives. The extra step now is to educate those who are still using not genuine softwares of Microsoft.

I believe with the track record of Concepts Group of Companies, Mr. Pao and his team will continue to educate the end users and also maintaining their standards in selling genuine products.

Now with the distributorship entrusted to Concepts Technologies, the IT resellers and agencies can get their Microsoft softwares from Concept Technologies. This is one of the biggest milestone for Mr. Pao and his team.

Microsoft Brunei has definitely chose the right decision in trusting Concepts Technologies’ capabilities and most importantly, the work ethics between partners. Congratulations to Mr. Vincent Pao, the founder of Concepts Group of Companies and the distributorship of Microsoft products award was well deserved.



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Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


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Just say Yes

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Another AUDE experience 

The Audi Urban Driving Experience (AUDE) back in 2014


T.C.Y. Motors as the sole dealer/importer for the Audi brand will once again hold its Audi Urban Driving Experience soon; it will be the second event of its kind after last year’s inaugural launch in Jerudong.

The event is a platform for customers and guests to experience and learn safe dynamic driving techniques and at the same time discover the unique capabilities of various Audi models in real driving situations. As with last year a professional driving instructor from overseas will be invited to conduct the exercises in a safe controlled environment.

With the recent alarming rise in road fatalities, emphasis on safe driving is at an all time high. Through the event participants will be shown simple yet important skills that can be utilised on a daily basis during their daily commute. Participants will also be enlightened on certain active/passive safety features available on current Audi models in the Sultanate.

The second AUDE event will take place at the end of the month at the previously held venue. Information on participation is available by calling 2442333 ext.31 or by visiting Audi Kiarong which is now open on Sundays 10.00am to 2.00pm.



Coming soon. Information on participation is available by calling 2442333 ext.31 or by visiting Audi Kiarong which is now open on Sundays 10.00am to 2.00pm


A chance of a lifetime 


Sam Koay is aiming for bigger success in Hollywood

Sam Koay with his equipment. Yay!! Canon 😀 and this was during his trip to Slovakia

Man, if I had that opportunity, I will grab it. I have always dreamt to be a film-maker since watching movies is my passion and I do appreciate all the efforts of the producers and directors to turn the movie into a final product for the benefit of the audience.

I just recently got in touch with Sam Koay whom I met during his International School Brunei days a few years ago and now, he has the opportunity to shine on a bigger stage and that is film-making and furthermore, it’s in Hollywood.. Yes, Hollywood. He is Malaysian but raised in Brunei, almost his entire life, and I’m more in touch with his mother, Cecilia Lee, owner of IA Salon and Fun Bee Park.

At a very young age, well comparing to mine *lol*, he holds a double major degree in Electronic and Theatre Arts and along the way he has notched several prestigious awards under his belt notably an award for an in-depth television feature into undocumented immigration into the US.

Currently he has signed with independent film-maker Greenstem Enterprises in Los Angeles. So his current project is a TV show with 21 episodes, the first season of “Basics of” and it’s basically an educational series where it gives the audience the know-how on taking on a career or a profession. This TV show will be aired on Discovery Channel in the summer of 2016. Now that is freaking awesome!!

In a very short span of time, he had hands on experience as he traveled to Slovakia while working closely with an award winning documentary film-maker Kelly Whelan. He had the opportunity to be involved in the Cannes International Film Festival 2014 as he worked as an intern in Meyers Media Group. Guess what? He had the privilege to bump into celebrities such as John Travolta and even my favourite director/producer Quentin Tarantino (envy…) Other accolades to his resume was as a camera operator and audio assistant for the Huffington Post during the Sundance Film Festival 2015.


Sam Koay at the Bradenton Film Festival

Sam Koay at one of his shootings at Slovakia

Sam Koay working on his short film at Puerto Rico as a cinematographer

A very good response from my Facebook followers as The Brunei Times article I shared garnered many “likes”

Being a graduate of University of Miami, he has also achieved numerous awards for his work on 30 minute documentary in 2014 on the immigration issue in the US (Society of Professional Journalism) and also for “Best Actor” award in the NOLA O Cinema screening in Miami. He also worked with an international brand Footlocker for a commercial.

Perhaps the highlight moment for me on Sam’s credentials will be his role as a production assistant for Warner Bros on Ben Affleck’s movie “The Accountant”. All these are good signs to come for a such a young talented individual. Apart from the current TV show he’s working on, he is working on a personal featured film, a story of struggles of a Malaysian man living in a Los Angeles. He hopes his featured film will gain interest and he is also raising funds for the production of the movie. Maybe you can try KickStarter, buddy 😀 I’m pretty sure many will support your cause.

For me, Sam can only move forward and I hope you reach the heights of being an accomplished director and actor. For the record, my favourite directors are Danny Boyle, Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan whereas my favourite actors are Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Scarlett Johansson.

Congratulations buddy and I wish you the best in the future.




Athlete of the Year? 


Darren Chai the winner of the Hopper Warrior 2015 CrossFit competition in Kuala Lumpur last weekend. Image courtesy of @hybridmovement

Darren Chai really impressed me as an athlete and he has one great intention – to help Brunei achieve health and fitness at the same time. I know him before as a tennis player and he’s pretty good too. I even saw him taking part in basketball tournaments and he has both the skills and physique to perform on the basketball court too. Now why I think he’s the athlete of the year is because of his contribution as a sportsman in the country and also his dedication.

Now his journey focuses on fitness through his personal training programme Hybrid Movement @HybridMovement and it has been a successful journey for Darren.

He recently won the Hopper Warrior 2015 CrossFit competition in Kuala Lumpur which took place last weekend. Well done, buddy. I believe it was no easy feat as he had a few tasks to complete and the points will then be tallied. The one with the lowest points will win the competition and Darren Chai had the lowest with 10 points whereas his next competitors were 14 points and 16 points respectively. You can read more of the story here written by Yee Chun Leong of The Brunei Times.

This year alone, he also competed in CrossFit Asia Tournament and he finished 15th out of the 34 finalists held in Bangkok back in June 2015. Back in May 2015, he was also champion in the “Beast of The East” competition. He was also being featured in the People section of The Brunei Times. Keep up the great work, buddy!! Maybe we should have a hit on the tennis court one day *lol*



Darren Chai braved the haze which was pretty bad in Kuala Lumpur last weekend

Darren Chai with the crew of Hopper Warrior 2015

Darren Chai at the CrossFit Asia Tournament in Bangkok where he finished 15th


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What do you mean?

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


HM inspects site 

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mui’zzaddin Wadaulah the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam inspecting the National Security Exercise yesterday led by the Prime Minister’s Office


His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mui’zzaddin Wadaulah the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday inspected the operations behind the coordination of the National Security Exercise run by several of Brunei’s security agencies and led by the Prime Minister’s Office.

His Majesty visited the exercise sites and various scenarios are being staged including an airplane crash in Mengkabu. For those who are not aware, the operation was codenamed Eksesais Perisai Kebangsaan 04/2015. His Majesty visited various agencies such as the State Control Centre (Royal Brunei Police Force HQ in Gadong), Air Traffic Centre at Department of Civil Aviation, media centre at Brunei International Airport, Royal Brunei Crisis Management Centre and finally a crash site at Kg Panchor, Mengkubau.

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam did highlighted that there is still room for improvements.

The exercise involves multi-agency coordination and is aimed at improving the ability of government agencies to respond to security risks and challenges, said Energy Minister Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar, who also chairs the National Security Committee.

“The objective is to test our system across the board – our response to crisis, our response to disaster,” he said. “In this exercise we are more interested in how multiple agencies work together to respond to an incident… Quite honestly there are quite a lot of lessons learned. We need to go back to the drawing board.”

The final exercise of the “Eksesais Perisai Kebangsaan” is today and do expect some roads to be affected such as road blocks and slow traffic. The information of the exercise especially the venue is to be discrete until it’s approved to be shared. This is the fact that it’s a real life simulation and it would be pointless if a warning is issued to the public under emergency situations. So I do hope the public will be understanding and cooperation with the authorities for this every important exercise.

You can read more here and here from The Brunei Times pieces. Source and images from The Brunei Times.









This could be your future 


I just had my visit at SBI (B) Sdn Bhd, a private equity fund manager, located in town and they have a very interesting history on SBI’s journey in the past few years in Brunei. Now they are expanding and scouting for suitable candidates (preferably citizen or permanent residents).

The job position is an Investment Analyst (Associate, Assistant Vice-President & Vice-President). Hence there will be a few spots available on each of the level/position stated. The company is mostly looking for fresh graduates and experienced ones. They will provide intensive training. Mind you the job will require you to travel a lot (my kind of thing) and they have flexible working hours (again my kind of thing). Important that you have at least a bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Finance, Economic, Engineering and/or Law.

Interested candidates are invited to submit their applications with detailed resume including present and expected salary, a recent passport size photograph and contact numbers. The application must hand delivered to SBI (B) Sdn Bhd office at Unit 1, Level 3, Dar Takaful Utama IBB, Jalan Pemancha during working hours (Monday to Friday) no later than 31st October 2015. Good luck.

I shall share more in depth on SBI as a company in my next post. It’s not as boring as you think, working in a fund manager field.



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Help, Help

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


The Martian 

Podcast review of The Martian with other movies The Intern, Transylvania 2, Black Mass and Everest with co-host Del Goh and special guest Nee Khern


What my buddies thought of The Martian. Have you caught it yet?

Review of The Martian on The Reel Show



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Hotel Jen Orchardgateway

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Hotel Jen experience 

Hotel Jen Orchardgateway in Singapore

Finding a perfect hotel in Singapore is always challenging. It boils down to price or location or preferably both. Those from Brunei who frequent their stay at Orchard area will be familiar with hotels such as Royal Plaza on Scotts, Grand Hyatt or Marina Mandarin are one particular reason – shopping conveniently at Orchard.

Now I can recommend you Hotel Jen Orchardgateway. It’s just one year old and it has been getting rave reviews for such a new establishment. I didn’t know it’s also under the Sharing-La umbrella which means they are under good hands :)

The location of Hotel Jen Orchardgateway is smackdown at Orchard (just between Somerset 313 and Orchard Central) and walking distance to Cineleisure, Takashimaya and Paragon. This is just a perfect spot for me to wonder around and plus I’m a regular user of the MRT which mean logistics is way better as I could make my journey from Somerset stop (MRT).


The iconic gigantic chair at the entrance of Hotel Jen Orchardgateway

The trolley for guests to bring their luggages and bags. Very homey and personal.

There are a few check points at the hotel where you can charge your smartphones. Awesome idea!!

The digital page where you can access and find out what you can do at the hotel and also around the area. Very useful for guests.

The Panaroma Club Room at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway.

The Superior Room with the City View

The rooftop pool on 19th floor

This is such a cozy place to be in right now

Nice view at night

There are basic amenities that you can enjoy such as free wifi, 24-hour gym access with facilities and fitness equipment, 24-hour room service and let’s not forget the pool side on the 19th floor.

What impressed me is the service they provide. The staff treat you with great care and I had little fuss during my check in process. I was even more impressed that they use the Windows Surface Pro as their tools for checking in and I signed my signature using their stylus on the tablet. Cool stuff…

Hotel Jen Orchardgateway will also stretch a little more with their service such as airport transfer, express check-in and check-out, local complimentary calls and if you are in need of computer access, you can surf spot with their iMac workstations.


Baoyi, one of the Club Lounge staff, assisted me to my room. All the staff are dressed casually, sporting a red top and blue jeans.

All the guest service staff will wear a badge. Looks legit and cool 😀

My personal message on my room TV and I even got an inbox message on the TV for my parcel. Nice touch!!

My club room on 20th floor. Spacious and I love the bed so much.

You can even relax by the window too to view the city

The bathroom and toilet area. Bruenians will love the fact that the toilet has an automated built-in sprinkler :p

I was given this. I love the classic snack!

The management had it all thought out. Guests tend to request for ice at the room service. Now you can help yourself to an ice dispenser available on every floor.

There’s even a vendor machine for guests to buy amenities and snacks or drinks.

You can even buy the Hotel Jen toiletry kit

The hotel offers different tiers to customers especially when you check in as a club guest. You have an awesome view of the either Orchard Road or Somerset Road from Level 18 or 20. You will also have access to the Club Lounge access and also checking in and out during your stay.

I could tell that Hotel Jen wants to focus in depth with their service as they kept asking me on how they could better their service even the smallest of things. The hotel itself is a gem due to your warm hospitality. I was a bit “sakai” when a message pop up on my TV console to alert that I have a parcel to be collected at the reception. For me, that alone made the experience more personal.

Even the prices are pretty reasonable considering it is at Orchard area. According to a third-party agency, it can cost as low as BND 250 for a superior room (king size bed). It also hit a high average rating on Tripadvisor where most praised for its location followed by the sleep quality and the rooms provided. Furthermore, many have praised Hotel Jen for their great variety in breakfast for the in-house guests.

I would also applaud Hotel Jen on their cleanliness. This gives a lasting impression that you will visit Hotel Jen on your next visit. Apparently, a few Bruneians have stayed at the hotel and the responses have been encouraging. So I could safely say that Bruneians are aware of the new hotel but not all know more of its existence.

You can browse through their website – – for more details. I like the idea that when you book 30 days in advance, you can enjoy 15% discounts or if 14 days, you can enjoy 10%. That’s quite a good incentive for guests.

Overall, my stay was excellent and I would highly recommend my friends to give Hotel Jen a shot. Do check out my instagram @ranoadidas as I will be running a competition and you will stand a chance to win a one-night stay at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway. Good luck!!!


The 24-hour access gym facilities


Jen Lounge on 10th floor. This is also the home of the Chelsea supporters. The big game will be Liverpool vs Chelsea at the end of October.

Makan @ Jen

The cooking is shown live to the patrons. Unique.

They serve ice-cream during the buffets even for breakfast

The environment at Makan @ Jen. It has become popular among corporate patrons especially during lunch due to the mini buffet package.

I love how they presented their dishes on different section. They have a creative eye.

No surprise there that Hotel Jen has a good rating on

On the Club Lounge, the club guests can utilize their facilities such as usage of computers and printing their documents and also enjoy hi-tea and breakfast on the designated time.

The reception area on Level 10.

For guests who are on the run, they can buy ready-to-go snacks such as crackers or sandwiches or puffs at the On The Go counter on Level 10.


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Halloween Horror Nights 5

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Halloween Horror Nights 5


With Jeremy of, Singapore blogger Tiffany Yong and Dominic at the Media Preview of Halloween Horror Nights 5 at Universal Studios Singapore at Resort World Sentosa

What a “trippy” experience!! I have always hear about the Halloween Horror Nights event in Singapore but I’ve never had the privileged to try it out because of my travel commitments. On the good note, whenever I posted stories contributed by Tiffany Yong’s experience on this particular event, my hits went up so a big thank you to Tiffany for contributing these stories (you can read here) for the past two years. Only recently I had the privilege to attend the exclusive media preview last Monday and thanks to Tiffany as well.

According to the press release, there are 4 haunted houses and 3 scare zones. The latter are all held outdoors so for those people who are afraid of the dark, that might be just some consolation news for you :p I managed to bump into a few friends from Singapore at the event and even popular blogger from The Philippines @itscamilleco was there with her clique.

It was really tough to take photos even with my SLR due to the lack of lighting which makes focuses pretty difficult. The successful attempts were quite minimal but I supposed that’s a good thing so there won’t be too many spoilers (right?).

According to the calendar, the Halloween Horror Nights 5 only available on weekends of October (Friday to Sunday). Tickets are running fast for this weekend and the next weekend. So to the Bruneians out there who are in Singapore or planning to visit Singapore, don’t miss out this spectacular experience of horror 😀



The representatives from the media locally and internationally

We were divided into groups according to the number

The bloggers from The Philippines. I only recognized @itscamilleco (2nd from left)

Tiffany getting ready for the tour

The theme for this year is Blood Moon

It was good to see SuperAdrianMe who is a jet setter

We have a scary visitor to welcome us at the entrance

A few words from Resort World Sentosa

My media pass that night

My personal favourite (haunted house) is the Siloso Gateway Block 50. Why? Because of the simulation from the role players – the police and the zombies. It seems as if I was in a real scenario. The highlights, for me, were the chained zombie by the wall and the over-sized hysterical lady zombie with both hands tied to the bed. Classic!!! Those moments alone warrant another visit if you can bare the long queue.

Now for every haunted house, there is a story behind it to make it more interesting for the “horror” goers. So for the Soliso Gateway Block 50, there was a water contamination with the so called HHN-5 virus that infected the residents, hence they were transformed into zombies. I love how this area was designed and decorated and attention to detail as well. A bit of warning that there will be a slight moment you will be sprayed with water but it was no harm to my camera equipment 😀 Let’s see if you have the same sentiments as me for Siloso Gateway Block 50.


The Siloso Gateway Block 50

Can you trust this person?

The first haunted house we braved was the “Tunnel People”. Now I’m not sure about the story for this one but apparently the Tunnel People have been bidding their time for the rise of the Blood Moon. So as you walk through the tunnel, will you be able to spot them? I really had a hard time taking photos as it was too dark. Even my periscope attempt failed to capture some horrifying scenes. Nonetheless you will be spooked because of the terrifying sound effects and the screams from unexpected spots. Those with the weak hearts will find this slightly more traumatizing because of the dark feel. I was more entertained by Tiffany’s body language as she cupped her ears throughout the tunnel :p


Tiffany Yong covering her ears at the Tunnel section

I kinda enjoyed the “Hell House” and it has an Asian feel to it. Again all the themes of the Halloween Horror Nights 5 relates to the Blood Moon. In this house, the moon has awakened all the “Paper Servants” of the Effigy House. There’s plenty of ingenuity here on how they set up the props. Yes, it may look less elaborated and dark than the other haunted houses but man, this was the first spot that got my nerves tingling especially the narrow corridor that has plentiful arms jutting out of the walls. Nicely done and effective enough to test your fears. I also have to salute one role player in the “Hell House” (do refer to photos below). Cool stuff..


It looks simple but very, very creepy

I salute this particular person for taking this particular spot

Wuusssuupppp….!!! (at the Hell House)

The next one was the MRT spot and it is labeled as True Singapore Ghost Stories: The MRT. The story depicts a scenario of an underground train station built at a Malay burial site and it was cursed by the Blood Moon. Expect to see the likes of Toyol, Pontianak and Hantu Rayas at the MRT. The scares are plentiful and they managed to trick the audience thinking some are just mannequins. Nice one!! It was probably my least favourite of the lot but doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. All in all, the Haunted Houses were nicely decorated to a specific themes and they all have their own purposes on how to startle their victims. As a first timer, I am totally impressed and I highly recommend my friends to take the courage to be part of the Halloween Horror Nights 5 (#HHN5).


The ghosts at MRT area

This is very trippy



The Scary Zones

Let’s not forget that apart from the Haunted Houses, there are also three scare zones – The Invaders (New York), conTerminated (Sting Alley) and Hungry Ghosts (Lost World). All these are outdoors and I really applaud all the role players as they gave it their all to make our experience worthwhile. I even see the senior citizens taking up this role as a ghost and the oldest scare actor is 70 years old. Impressive.. For your info, there are more than 500 people who auditioned of this year’s HHN5. Another interesting fact is that they used 10 gallons of fake blood for the event.

There are also 10 rides, shows and attractions that will be operational during the event. Do check out their official websitefor more details. The general admission is $68 and they have plenty of different prices for different packages.


At The Invaders

At The Invaders

At The Invaders

At The Invaders

At the Hungry Ghost

At the Hungry Ghost. Ok, this is very creepy indeed.

At the Beast Club

Lots of dancing beasts *lol*

Watch some performances at the Beast Club with some rave music

There are four cities in the world that hosting Halloween Horror Nights this year

Check out the dates on the weekends for Halloween Horror Nights 5. Click image to see more.


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Charmazing now at Best Eastern

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in Uncategorized


Indulge in Charmazing!!

You can connect your bracelets with on the Charmazing app and earn points

The launch of the Charmazing at Times Square

Forget Candy Crush.. (especially for the young female teens).. I just came across a new addictive game for the girls and it’s more on wearing accessories and earning points through sharing or connecting with other owners of the particular accessories. This items that I’m talking about is no other than Charmazing (bracelets with charms).

Now Charmazing has a unique way of interacting with other Charmazing users – through means of the Charmazing App (now available on Apple Store and Google Play). You can now explore into the virtual world where you can wear, share and trade with friends and connect with other designers, simply by playing with the App. Awesome, huh? This trend has been popular outside Brunei and Best Eastern (leading bookstore in Brunei) has brought in one of the STYLE ME UP collection to the Sultanate and I believe this will be a huge hit among teenagers.


The Charmazing starter kit

The Charmazing starter kit

The workshop of Charmazing at Times Square a few weeks ago



Check out Charmazing on Youtube


They have different range of collections to choose from Charmazing. Of course, the best to start off with the starter kit and it costs below BND 10 and you can also download the App and start connecting with other Charmazing owners. There are four sets in total and the biggest set is the Charmazing Deluxe Kit (the complete set with 6 bracelets with 12 assorted charms).

You can follow Best Eastern’s Facebook page or their instagram @besteastern_bookstore

You can also check out for more details on how to play around with it.


Available now at Best Eastern







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Hoping for a miracle

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Haze keeps us closer (indoors) 

Hello peeps!!! I’m currently in Singapore and yes, I’m braving the haze here. It seems that Singapore and Malaysia are really affected and perhaps the worst affected area will be around Sumatra. I’m pretty sure it has a slight detrimental effect on the Singapore economy as people tend to stay indoors. Last week, the PSI reading was over 300 (hazardous), the government declared that all schools in Singapore to shut down for that particular day.

Brunei do get hazy every now and then but it’s not as bad as Singapore or Malaysia. I could smell the haze when I was paying a visit to Vivo City last Monday. The good thing is that the masks are in stock as compared to 2013 where the masks were high in demand but low on supply. So I suggest to Bruneians who are visiting Singapore to put on a mask if possible.

Last night’s match between DPMM FC and Home United for the Singapore Cup was also postponed due to the haze. However, the fans were not pleased as the organisers delayed the match for an hour plus before calling the game off and postponed it to tonight. It’s a tricky situation where organisers have to make a brave decision to proceed with the match or take precaution of the players’ body condition. This has not play quite well with the supporters and the fans have been vetting out their frustrations on the S•League Facebook Page too. Well, from the looks of it, the haze today doesn’t look any better and what will be the fate of the match which supposedly taking place tonight… hmmmm.. We shall wait and see.


This is my view right now while blogging this entry. What a hazy day in Singapore. Taken at the Club Lounge of Hotel Jen Orchardgateway.

My recent visit to Universal Studios for the Halloween Horror Nights 5. More on this soon.

Now why I am in Singapore is for a few reasons – 1) Do my visa for Denmark 2) get a pair of Adidas Barricade shoes for tennis 3) catching up with friends/bloggers (Tiffany, Frances, J.T) 4) catching Black Mass – verdict: 7/10 5) a special invite for the Halloween Horror Night 5 #HHN5 at Universal Studios 6) my stay experience at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway.

From the looks of it, it ain’t a bad itinerary. The only miracle I hope for now is making sure I get on my flight to Copenhagen by Monday latest. It’s gonna slightly tough but I’m glad the Singapore team (from Bang & Olufsen), the Brunei team too and the Denmark Embassy in Singapore are doing the best they can to make sure my visa gets approved as soon as possible.

Apparently I found out that my passport is slightly trickier than the Brunei passport. I’m a permanent resident of Brunei Darussalam and we don’t use passports like Brunei citizens would. We have what we call Certificate of Identification of Brunei Darussalam printed on the brown colour passport look-a-like. Hence the Royal Danish Embassy in Singapore shared that my particular passport will take at least 7 working days and not 5 day or less for others. This is the fact that I’m holding a CI document (the PR passport) and it will take longer to process the visa application.

So what I learnt from this lesson (trip) is that we Brunei PR will spend more money (flying and staying in Singapore just for a 60 euro Visa) and the second most important thing is you have to apply at least 3 weeks before (to be safe) to Schengen countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway to name a few. I never expected it to be this difficult but all I have to do now is just wait from the Royal Danish Embassy to give me the green light by Friday or latest by Monday.

If you ask me personally if there’s any perks of holding a CI document/passbook, nah, there’s not much improvement as not many countries recognizes this particular travel document. Do we permanent residents deserve a travel document that’s called a Passport? Yes, we do.. I do hope the “Yang Berhormats” take notice of this issue as this motion has not been approved after countless attempts at the Legislative Council. We need the convenience and assurance especially when we travel to certain countries. For me, it’s the costs and inconvenience that I have to experience during my travel journey. Let’s bring this matter urgently in the next LegCo meeting. Some improvements are needed at least.

Oh man, I’ve been ranting here on the 19th floor of Hotel Jen with the view of the haze in front of me. Let’s hope for brighting things to come and I want to get my butt on the plane to Denmark. I’m signing off for now.. Have a wonderful week ahead..



Awareness of FS-ers


Press release from Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam. Have you heard of financial scams? They are scams involving deposits, money transfers and credit card transactions. Although some financial scams are too good to be true, there are many people that still become victims.

These are the common financial scams in Brunei:

1. Get-rich-quick scheme: a plan, which offers high returns or dividends not usually available through traditional investments. The focus of such schemes would be to obtain deposits without a valid product or services which will be used to pay returns or dividends to earlier investors. The scheme may take the following forms:

  Ponzi scheme

  Pyramid scheme

  Gold investment

  Land-banking investment

  Forex trading

2. Credit card scam: Scammers calling victim’s phone pretending to be a bank officer informing that the victim’s credit card is suspected of crime. For verification purpose, the victims will be deceived into providing their credit card details.

3. Job scam: Scammers pretending to offer a job in their organisation. However, in order to secure the job offer, the victim must pay an upfront fee.

4. Lottery and competition scam: Scammers send out an SMS blast to would-be victims informing them of prizes they have won in competitions organised by some big companies and are advised to pay an entrance fee.

5. Inheritance Scams: Scammers assume the role of lawyers or representatives for a recently deceased distant relative or wealthy benefactor leaving a large inheritance usually in cash of which is to be distributed amongst them at an agreed percentage.

6. Internet love scam: (LOL, never been duped by this before) By creating fake profiles, fraudsters have managed to exploit the other users by pretending to develop an intimate and personal relationship with their victims.


The grand prize for the Open Category to top off with the BND 1,200 cash prize

AMBD believe that it is important to educate the public and raise their awareness to protect innocent people from becoming unfortunate victims. Show your support and creativity by creating a short video on financial scams awareness!

Well, there’s a good incentive for you to join!! Because the winners will win awesome prizes. For the Open Category, first place will win BND 1,200 cash prize with a GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition, second place will win BND 900 cash prize with Sony Handycam while third place will win BND 600 with Sony HDR. There will also be student category with cash prizes for top three winners – BND 1,000, BND 750 and BND 500 respectively.

I won’t spare much details here but you can download the PDF form for eligibility and other information. Good luck and the deadline for submission is 30th October 2015.



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Lesson learnt

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


The law is the law 


The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) yesterday announced the introduction of new corruption laws to address abuse of power and misconduct in public office.

The new laws will allow legal action to be taken against civil servants who fail to carry out their duties to a “high ethical standard”, said the AGC in a statement issued yesterday.

Following extensive discussions between the AGC and the Anti-Corruption Bureau, several amendments have been made to the Prevention of Corruption Act.

New offences have been included in the legislation, criminalising the use of public funds for private purposes; giving undue preferential treatment; misuse of information acquired during the course of duty; and allowing private interests to come into conflict with public duties.

The legislation also states that any public officer who seeks to interfere or influence the “appointment, promotion, suspension, demotion or dismissal” of any other public official, can be prosecuted under the new laws.

Similarly, any civil servant who demonstrates “willful misconduct or neglect of duty” to a degree which amounts to abuse of public trust, is considered guilty of an offence.

The punishment for all the new corruption offences is seven years’ jail and a $30,000 fine.

The AGC added that offences can be committed without the receipt of gratification or monetary benefit.

The legal definition of “public body” has also been changed in the legislation, to include government-linked companies and statutory bodies, such as the Brunei Economic Development Board, Brunei Shell Joint Ventures, Royal Brunei airlines, among others.

The new laws came after His Majesty, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, lambasted police for corrupt practices last March.

“The main purpose of the amendment is to address the concern of His Majesty… during a working visit (paid to the) Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) Headquarters… in respect of corruption in the form of abuse of powers for personal interest,” said the AGC.
During the visit, His Majesty cited several cases of police corruption, including the case of a high-ranking police officer accused of accepting a luxury car from a convicted criminal in exchange for helping him cross the border illegally.

In a fiery address to police officers, the monarch accused RBPF personnel of “elements of lawlessness” such as involvement in gambling, drinking and smuggling banned goods, as well taking bribes to “look the other way”. Text courtesy of Quratul-Ain Bandial of The Brunei Times.



Good luck, scholars 

Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar with senior management of Brunei Shell Joint Venture and the 42 feted BSJV scholars


Late post: Three weeks ago, the Brunei Shell Joint Venture (BSJV) Companies officially awarded scholarships to 42 students, marking the occasion with a signing ceremony at the Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club.

The guest of honour was the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar. Also present was the Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP), Andrew Faulkner.

The 42 scholarship students will be embarking on their undergraduate courses, with disciplines ranging from engineering to science. In addition, two BSJV scholars will be continuing their studies and undertaking post graduate programmers in their respective vocations.

Some of the students will be enrolling at Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB), while the rest will be enrolling in courses in Australia and the United Kingdom.

As a BSJV statement reads, “The students have undergone a rigorous assessment process to ensure they meet the company’s criteria and subsequently identified as best in class amongst their peers.”












The event also saw recognition given to 10 BSJV scholars who successfully completed their degree programme with First Class Honours.

In a speech yesterday, the Deputy Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd, Haji Kamaludin bin Haji Bungsu said the BSJV scholarship programme started decades ago, highlighting that the programme is an important and big investment for the company.

“By investing in youths, we hope to answer the call of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to bolster the economy and give locals the opportunity to become workers and leaders,” he said.

Good luck to all the scholars and I believe they all have started their journey as BSP scholars by now. Text courtesy of Danial Norjidi of Borneo Bulletin.


Sneaks of the new Peugeot

The Peugeot 2008 with the sales team from Peugeot Brunei and members of the press

Recently we had a sneak preview of the latest edition of Peugeot that will enter the Brunei market pretty soon. It was a concept car back in 2009 in one of the the motor show and now it has become a reality. The media was able to get a sneak peak of the Peugeot’s new urban 2008 crossover at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Gadong.

What I love about the Peugeot 2008 is the exterior design and it has both a characteristic of a hatchback and an SUV. The interior is pretty impressive as well. I won’t spare much details as yet but you will be able to ask more information at Peugeot office at Kiarong. I believe this car will be a hit. I’m not quite sure of the price just yet as they are pretty tight lipped about it but I won’t be surprised if it will be affordable.

I will update once the Peugeot 2008 crossover will be available in Brunei market. You can follow their Facebook Page for updates too.


We caught a few videos on what the Peugeot 2008 is capable of and the Peugeot 2008 DKR won a one-two finish at the China Silk Road Rally

The beautifully crafted Peugeot 2008

The interior of the 2008



Markus Dybwad impresses 

Recently we had the chance to taste Markus Dybwad’s cooking on Snofood products (food items that are supplied to Excapade). For your info, Markus Dybwad is a popular culinary consultant and he is Norwegian. So he prepared some great dishes for the invited guests and a big thank you to the Snofood management for the invitation. I was quite impressed with the food presented. Just to let you know that the food you dine at Excapade is mostly from Snofood.

Michael Chong, owner of Snofood (2nd from left) with his invited guests at the standing cocktail session hosted by Snofood management

Markus Dybwad from Norway show his cooking skills and tasted pretty good too







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