When September ends

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in Youth, community, charity, health, Social News

It was been announced by the Minster of Health that the control measures will be extended until 3rd October 2021



Third week coming. Cases are still quite high considering our population. Even though in a 100 region cases, it’s considered high because of the high infection rate and it also has been confirmed that we already have the Delta variant which is a very infectious virus than the original variant. 

The control measures are to continue up until early October. There are still people who have no regards for the control measures as we speak. Some would appear in public places when they should have been isolated at their own homes. I just hope that one day Ministry of Health will share information on those who has been compound or prosecuted for breaking the Quarantine Act. So it will be a great example so they can take such law seriously. I am even shocked when James Kon of Borneo Bulletin shared how he came across a +ve person, trying to enter the fish market recently because he had a purple code on his BruHealth app. 

Yang Berhormat Dato Minister of Health also shared that if any government officer who broke the Quarantine Act Order will also be terminated from his or her employment. Hence this is regarded as a serious offence. So let’s play our part to fight and flatten the curve.

The virus is definitely here to stay and will be part of our daily lives. Only once we manage to get pass the mitigation stage and contain the virus, then only we can loosen up the restrictions and help restart the slow activity especially in Brunei economy’s status. 


Some guidelines for those undergoing self isolation notice
We have past the 20% mark. 50% more to go!!!




Vaccination program update. A huge blow to those who are supposedly booked for the 1st dose starting September due to the shortage of the Moderna vaccines. This was publicly announced yesterday by the Minster of Health during the press conference. Yang Berhormat reassures the public that the other supply of vaccines will be coming to Brunei soon and Brunei will reach 70% by the end of 2021. Yang Berhormat also apologizes to the disruption in the vaccination program 

However, the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will still and only be provided to the elderly, differently-abled, and pregnant women where they can get the first dose injections from any vaccination centres on a walk-in basis. However, it should be noted that the supply of vaccines for this group is limited. This doesn’t apply to breastfeeding mothers for now. 

Those who already had their first doses, your bookings remain as scheduled and there will be adequate supply for those receiving the second dose. 

As I have shared before on my IG live recap, we are supposed to receive 300,000 doses of Pfizer in the final quarter. It’s still not known what is the situation with the order. Yang Berhormat did highlight that it’s the accessibility to these vaccines that are delaying the vaccination program. With Brunei’s good relations with other countries, let’s hope we can expedite the process of receiving these vaccines. I like the idea how the Australia government have a swap initiative where they secured 500,000 doses of Pfizer from Singapore and they will send back to Singapore the same amount once they have the orders later in December. Who knows the Brunei government can work a similar deal. Then again, every country has their priorities to protect their citizens. 

As of now, we are only at 22% for those who are fully immunised (with two doses). The rate percentage per day is averaging at 0.6 and if you do that Maths, it will be less than 90 days to hit the 70% mark. That, of course, if we have access to the Pfizer vaccine as well. So let’s hope for the best and once we reach herd immunity, we shall see what plans the Brunei Government has in store for us.

Extension of vaccination centers. Some suggested to have more vaccination centres within the district but Yang Berhormat said it will be near impossible should the government were to execute this. There are many things to consider – the paramedics, the specialized cold storage for Moderna, the man power, space and a few more. These are not easily accessible with our current resources. Hence having it at dedicated vaccination centre, it will be a better in the economy scale of things for Brunei. 

The 2nd wave impact. Definitely a much more devastating impact that the first one. To date, we have recorded an additional 8 deaths in a span of 3 weeks as compared to the 3 deaths in the 15-month period. Furthermore, it was confirmed that the variant is Delta which is much more infectious than the original variant.  In just a span of three weeks, cases have broke the 2,000 mark which is considered high for our population. 

The good news is that the majority of the cases are in Category 1 and Category 2 where they are mostly asymptomatic or having just mild symptoms. More than half in Category 1 have been isolating themselves at the confinement of their own rooms due to logistics and centers being overwhelmed. As we speak, newer isolation centers have been identified with the latest being at Mahad, Tutong which can accommodate up to 338 patients. 

As for the number cases where it’s on a downward trend, it is still early to say as the results of the swab tests are still not a true reflection as 94 positive cases from the 146 cases reported recently was based on the second swab during their 12th day of isolation whereas the 50+ cases are results from 24 hours ago. Let’s we come to a stage where numbers won’t be multiplying and Yang Berhormat Dato keeps emphasizing those on Quarantine Order to stay put at home “Teranah di Rumah” because there are those who still snuck out of their homes and this will simply disrupt the plans for us to move forward by reducing control measures phase by phase. 


Will Pfizer makes it way to Brunei soon?
Donate a scrub
Scrubs from YMRM Galleria
Check out Great Eastern policies




Insurance. Speaking of vaccines, I want tot share the Great Eastern Brunei has an insurance product that covers that vaccination. Basically once you are vaccinated, you can get special coverage. I did ask about insurance during the press conference where should one who are vaccinated get better and reasonable premium fees for their insurance since they are considered low risk to those who are unvaccinated. It’s a pretty new ball game and I know Delta Airlines will charge their unvaccinated employees an extra $200 per month. So this could be a game changer but it’s still early days to know how the insurance company in Brunei sees about this or even business entities. 

Singapore will be introducing the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) and guess what… Brunei is part of Singapore’s VTL which means we can fly to Singapore with certain conditions and criteria. Travel insurance is one of their criteria and should cover a minimum of BND 30,000 for Covid-19 related medical treatment and hospitalization cost before they travel to Singapore. Speaking of travel, yea, the first country for me to visit, once everything has settle down, is definitely Singapore. 


Oyen is the new local superstar
Click image to enter website
Got this mask from Battle Proms





Oyen the celebrity. Despite the second wave, there’s always a silver lining and that is Oyen. The orange adorable cat made its debut on social media on August 10 and the responses have been overwhelming and welcoming. It has taken Brunei by storm and kudos to the Ministry of Health for creating such an iconic mascot. 

However, there have been a public backlash for those who have been in a way, profiting from selling merchandise with Oyen’s image without the consent of the Ministry. When being confronted, some of the vendors would go to an extent to redesign Oyen which again can be considered plagiarism as the redesign is still an inspiration from the original artist. 

It then came to the attention of the Ministry and they were kind enough for those who are interested to use Oyen in their merchandise, they can simply contact through email corp.comms@moh.gov.bn 

On that note, Ministry of Health, Brunei is collaborating with Ophthalmology Society and Edy Aswandi (the original creator of Oyen) in selling the official Oyen face masks at 7pm on the 3 September. Just visit https://bruneieyesociety.com/ to pre-order your Oyen mask. The proceeds will go to the Covid-19 relief funds. 


Dynamik Technologies and Progresif on the Goals for Education initiative and there was a digital handover of 48 devices to the Ministry of Education for the students recently




Less support the students. Another device donation campaign is being carried out by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) and the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI). The campaign aims to support online learning and to help students in need as an effort in addressing the impact of the second wave in Brunei Darussalam.

The Device Donation Campaign will take place until 30 September 2021 from 8:30am to 11:30am except for Friday, Sunday and public holiday. Check out the posters for more details on how to donate. Their target is to reach 5,000 devices to the students and last year they managed to raise almost 1,700 devices. Your contribution is much appreciated.






Mental health. Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) is collaborating with Health Promotion Centre (HPC) to promote and raise awareness about mental health among the people of Brunei amidst the local Covid-19 situation and as a long-term plan as part of its partnership to promote health and well-being. T

he collaboration will help promote awareness and education on mental health issues which will be uploaded on BIBD’s and HPC’s Mind Your Mind social media channels. “The re-emergence of the Covid-19 situation in Brunei has caused a huge impact on all of us, in which a number of changes had to be made in order to curb the spread of Covid-19,” said Nor Syahmun binti Hj Matassan, Clinical Psychologist and Mental Health Strategy Lead at the Health Promotion Centre. 

“These changes and uncertainty unfortunately can lead to stress, anxiety, fear, and lack of motivation for many of us. Although this is a common and normal reaction during a pandemic situation, it must be addressed. It is more important now than ever, for us and the whole Bruneian community, to mind our mind and maintain good mental health and well-being,” she added. 

“We, the Ministry of Health through the Mind your Mind Brunei Team at Health Promotion Centre is grateful to have this opportunity to work and collaborate together with BIBD and Community for Brunei to share series of tips and strategies that can hopefully help everyone maintain good mental health and well-being especially during these challenging times.” 

The Ministry of Health would like to highlight and remind the public to not hesitate to ask for professional help if anyone is feeling stressed and overwhelmed by the current situation. They may contact the mental health professionals at Talian Harapan 145 for support, every day from 8.00am to 11.00pm

My view: This is a great outlet especially for those who are experiencing this. During the first wave, it hit me really hard – mentally, emotionally and physically because the fear and anxiety of the virus. I was worried about my well-being and also my family members. I can relate also to a few of my friends who under went quarantine at the National Isolation Centre and they probably had it worst due to the restrictions in place and also being confined to a smaller area than usual for a minimum of two weeks. 

So, do reach out the number 145 and hopefully they can assist you. Let’s not take mental health for granted. 




For those who wants to renew IC and what not

Coping with the “new norm”

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in Social News

His Majesty the Sultan delivering a titah earlier this week

His Majesty the Sultan’s titah. His Majesty shared that for over a year, Brunei Darussalam was safe and free of infections. We have no neglected to be grateful to Allah the Almighty for this blessings as we are aware that nothing will take place without His consent and will. However, on August 2021, we were caught off guard by local transmissions involving seven individuals and the following days, the numbers came rising. 

His Majesty said that no misfortune will occur unless through committing sins, and it will not subside unless we seek forgiveness from Allah the Almighty and repent for their sins. 

“If we wash our hands with water or sanitiser, we should wash our sins by seeking forgiveness and repentance.” 

“We, as a people of faith, still hope that Allah the Almighty will grant our prayers and good deeds to cleanse Brunei from the coronavirus pandemic.”


 

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr. Hj Md Isham Jaafar, Minister of Health receiving 100,000 doses of Moderna vaccine, from the government of Republic of Singapore, represented by His Excellency Heng Aik Yeow, High Commissioner of Republic of Singapore to Brunei Darussalam two nights ago
A new vaccination center at Institute of Health Science at Universiti Brunei Darussalam
The frontliners at the UBD vaccination center



Vaccination centers. Alhamdullilah, more centers are opening up, the latest being at Institute of Health Sciences at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam. This was publicly announced yesterday at the press conference. This is welcoming news as the demand for vaccines have surged after the second wave hit Brunei hard. It was also made public that Brunei received 100,000 doses of Moderna vaccine which was donated by the government of the Republic of Singapore. The contribution by Singapore reflects the special relations with Brunei Darussalam and their continued support in fight against the virus. 

Almost 70% of the population in Singapore are vaccinated and this is what Brunei wants to achieve before year end. So far almost 40% of Brunei has at least 1 dose of the vaccination while only less than 15% are fully vaccinated. So insyaAllah by year end, we can reach 70% and that’s also waiting for the arrival of the few hundred thousand doses of Pfizer to Brunei Darussalam which could be the by final quarter of 2021. 



Cases still on the rise. There’s no determining on where the peak will be. It has been 10 days and the cases have subsided. Instead we have at least 20 clusters related to the positive cases with Chung Hua KB cluster being the highest followed by Champion 7 cluster.

Yang Berhormat Dato Dr. Isham Jaafar, Minister of Health, shared that they will need at least one week of data from the BruHealth to study the pattern and see how they can better prepare to handle the current situation. I do hope the investment of the BruHealth app pays off in learning such trends. It is still a great app, nonetheless, especially with the implementation of the your BruHIMS record and also the effectiveness of the BruHealth if you keep your bluetooth activated at all times. 



Digital Quarantine Order. Now this is a very new thing for all those residing in Brunei Darussalam and quite a few will still be clueless or unsure (I can’t blame them). The first day of the launch of the Digital Quarantine Order was a few glitches where some users where given the QO on their BruHealth without any context since he or she wasn’t even a primary or secondary contact with a +ve patient. It seemed to be resolved and stable as we speak but there are still a handful of people unsure the mechanism or instructions required once they received an QO on his or her app. 

Basically once you receive the QO, you are required to undergo self-isolation at your said address. The app also features a tracking of your whereabouts (bluetooth must be activated) and you can also request for food deliveries. Because of the tracing feature, should the person with an QO violate by straying more than 100 metres from their home, the tracker will notify the relevant authorities. Such offenders can be fined BND 5,000 or even be prosecuted in Court and fine up to BND 10,000. So yea, this is considered a serious matter indeed should one breach the Quarantine Order. Now I wonder if anyone has breached the QO. 

So peeps, it’s important to get keep using your BruHealth app now with the second wave kicking us even harder. We have been slacking indeed when using the BruHealth app and taking for granted of our situation. I am also guilty of it sometimes for not scanning the QR Code when entering a premise. I believe that if the majority had been very discipline in using the QR code for the past few months, it would have help the contact tracing even easier when the second wave hit. We are just one or two steps behind and I do hope we are able to contain the spread. If we could just turn back time…. 

Endemic stage. This was a question I raised during the Press Conference (15/8/2021). When replied, Yang Berhormat Dato said, “We have to live with. It’s in the population just like H1N1.” So it’s important for the country to be fully immunized or the aim is for Brunei Darussalam to reach 70% for vaccination. He aims to reach a pace of 10,000 vaccination per day once the new stock of vaccines arrive within this week. 

It will be good news for Brunei if we treat the situation as endemic rather than pandemic so we can get on with our “new normal” life. I assume there will still be mandatory to wear mask but it will be less worrying once we reached herd immunity and protecting the community. Business will hopefully run as normal and it will help to kick start the economy back into first gear. 



Lacking manpower. This is the true test of time for Brunei Darussalam. The thought of the existing National Isolation Centre was already considered a privileged and always on standby should any cases sprout out. Little did we know the community spread has exhausted the capacity at the National Isolation Centre, the logistics at the vaccination centers and even the hotline at 148. There’s also shortage of resources for transportation of the positive cases who were supposedly to be transported to the National Isolation Centre. Even the Ministry of Health needs more manpower in the “red zone” area which majority of the volunteer isn’t taking any risk which is understandable. 

I’m sure by the second or hopefully by the third week, everything will be in order and the cases will just keep appearing every now and then until we can contain the spread. The related government agencies are on top of things to strategize on how to run the operations at a smooth manner. The 2nd wave have really caught us off guard and no one could have predicted the high number of infection that has taken Brunei by storm. Other countries are already experience 3rd or 4th wave of infection. We have enjoyed far too long (15-month) and it was a matter of time before the bubble burst. 

Currently, according to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, we have quite a number of volunteers who signed up to help as Ministry of Health needed all the help they can. Already around 4,000 registered under the Youth Volunteer Group as of August 20 and since the second wave, a total of 400 youth has signed up. Though 400 are active and on duty at designated locations, they still need more volunteers. 

The volunteers also have transported food ration to the 840 homes that are under Quarantine Order to accommodate more than 5,000 individuals. Volunteers can sign up through www.sukarelawanbelia.com or through the Mengalinga App or their hotline 891 3762. 


Behind the scenes at 148. Image by The Scoop



Contacting 148. It’s good to know that the hotline number 148 has increased in manpower, from 7 people to 20 people, but the number of call-ins is still considered very high (in the region of 600 calls or more daily). Even their whatsapp/telegram line 730095 is too overwhelming with thousands of messages to go through.  Hence Ministry of Health are still looking for volunteers to help with the hotline segment.

It’s also known that the Brunei Red Crescent is also assisting the 148 hotline and you can contact the following numbers – 826 0420, 826 0320, 826 0360, 826 0370 and 826 0390 from 8am to 8pm. 

Or you can also contact Talian Darussalam 123 or whatsapp them at 833 3123 or you can email them at info@123.com.bn 

Come to think of it, I feel that I am also playing a role of “148” as I do share information to those who are seeking for answers and I will answer accordingly with the knowledge being shared by the Ministry of Health. So can you imagine those behind the line, constantly dedicating their time to answer any queries. This takes a lot of mental strength as they will have to deal with different types of personalities. So please, do have compassion for them and they are just humans and doing to the best of their capabilities with the resources given. Just have to be patient. Even a friend of mine made 192 calls to 148 before she successfully got hold of a person for her vaccination slot. So keep trying and don’t give up 😀 

A tip: Try to call before midnight or after midnight. Chances getting through is higher indeed. Good luck and thank you for your understanding. 

2nd Wave is NO JOKE

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in Youth, community



New clusters: It’s time to pull our socks up. Preach what we say and not for the sake of saying it. Our habits must be re-programmed once again to be more vigilant and be more alert. Every single move or step, if miscalculated, can be catastrophic. It’s the time to be “gagah” as quoted by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham bin Hj Jaafar, the Minister of Health. 

Yesterday was no surprise to see the numbers increasing from Day 1 of the second wave and on upward trend. Day 1 saw 7 local cases, Day 2 saw 15 local cases and Day 3 (yesterday) hit a high 38 local cases. 

KB Chung Hwa cluster is the highest with 29 positive patients and this cluster has yet to show signs of decreasing in numbers as the swab tests are still waiting for results. The KB Chung Hwa cluster is related to a 16 year old boy (case 363). A new cluster, ABCi, is also being identified where there are 5 cases while cluster Total has 4 new cases. The Starlodge cluster has no new cases. The #362 case has yet to identify the source of the infection and still undergoing investigation. 




The vaccination and swab centres are overwhelmed ever since the second wave. The Ministry of Health needed more man power and especially the volunteers to once again help to ease the logistic nightmare that was quite apparent such as longer queues with limited social distancing. Last night, private securities have been deployed to help with the queue system and ushering at the populated centres and clinics. So that’s an improvement. But MOH will definitely need more help from the volunteers to help with the overwhelming numbers present at the respective centres. 

Now there are newer tighter control measures:

  • Any mass/social gathering is not allowed 
  • 15 pax allowed for funeral arrangements 
  • 5 pax for “Akad Nikah” ceremony
  • For elderly parents living separately from other family members, only 2 family members are allowed to visit the parents at a time
  • You can hike or jog individually or in 2s if they happen to live in the same household
  • All officers and staff (government and private sector) are required to Work-From-Home (WFH). Only essential staff are allowed to work in their physical space. 
  • Front-liners (health sector, security sector, hospitality sector, transportation sector) 
  • Daily necessities sector (food, retail business)
  • Facilities and utilities sector (electricity, water, telecommunications) 
  • Officers at the border and entrances to Brunei Darussalam
  • Oil and gas and downstream sectors
  • Development sectors
  • Agri-food and forestry sectors
  • Leaving your home without any significant purpose is not allowed
  • Only two people from one family are allowed to buy daily necessities




     

Price of Masks: This is quite subjective. Not many are aware on the  different prices of masks. Let’s put it this way. If you go visit a fabric shop like YMRM Galleria, you will see the same colour of kain baju melayu at different sections. But… but… you will notice the prices are different from each other because of the quality. Same goes for masks. 

I know there was one particular brand that was stocked up by Hua Ho what was priced at $120 per box. Then again, Yang Berhormat Dato Isham said that this particular mask was legit and perhaps one of the highest grade quality mask because it’s N95. That price alone is considered reasonable for N95 standard. Whereas the rest of the masks in the market are of different qualities. 

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr. Hj Amin Liw bin Abdullah, the Second Minister of Finance and Economy addressed that there won’t be a shortage of masks in Brunei. Even so, there is no shortages of mask regionally and we are able to import should we are running low on stocks. The same can be said for hand santizers. 

But I do hear reports that some shops deliberately hike up their masks prior to the second wave announcement. For this, it is considered unacceptable practice. If you know of any, you can forward that to me and I can get the relevant agency to deal with them. 

Stay Home: Once again, I would like to advice everyone to stay home, stay calm and stay safe. Don’t forget to wear your mask if you’re out and about!! Let’s hope for the curve to subside. We can do this 😀 

Surreal

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in health, Social News

Questions and Answers session offline after the press conference with the three Yang Berhormats. Thank you for your time and leadership.

It feels surreal. That’s the only word to describe. I have always remained optimistic on the situation in Brunei Darussalam. So many praises (and some envies) from my neighbouring friends on how we are living our lives on a normal basis – no masks, little attention to social distancing, mass gatherings, crowded malls etc. Basically we are enjoying in our own majestic bubble. It came to a point that I sometimes feel that we are invincible to the pandemic. 

After more than 15 months of being free from local transmission, 7 new local cases were reported yesterday. The first five, Case 340 to Case 344, were linked to a hotel used for quarantine purposes. It was known that the 5 cases had no travel history in recent months and there is a likelihood this particular cluster has been exposed to one of the imported case recently. 

Now here is where it got me curious. The other cases (case 345 & case 346) are isolated local cases and the source of the infection has yet to be identified and still under investigation. One is believed to be from a school and the other one from a district. Once the Ministry of Health have the correct information, they will definitely share accordingly. 

Followers watching it live to IG LIVE during the press conference yesterday
The single tick means the person has received its first dose of the vaccine while two ticks mean the person has received two doses of the vaccine
It is yet to be known the source of the infection from Case 345 and Case 346

According to Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dj Hj Mohd Isham bin Hj Jaafar, there is a possibility that there was a breach of standard operating procedures (SOPs) which led to the new local transmissions. 

With the new local transmissions and 3 new clusters, with the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, there will be control measures for the next two weeks to combat the local transmissions. These measures are something we were already accustomed to back in 2020. 

Here are the following control measures  :

  • Mass gatherings are capped at 30 pax.
  • Mosques, suraus, and places of worship to be closed.
  • Online learning will commenced for schools, other educational institutions, tuition classes, music classes and special needs classes
  • Restaurants will be limited to takeaway and delivery, with no dine-in allowed.
  • Recreational centres including gyms, cinemas, internet cafés, playgrounds, leisure centres, museums and galleries to be closed.
  • Beauty salons and barber shops to be closed.
  • Businesses have been urged to implement a work-from-home policy (business continuity plan), allowing only essential workers on physical premises.
  • Masks are now mandatory and to be worn indoor at public places and also outdoor 

Attending the press conference yesterday was already surreal. It was like waiting to sit for my final exams and not knowing which questions will popped up. I was running numbers in my head. Will it be 2 new cases, 5 new cases? I was just feeling anxious as everyone else. Even the false information of the poster was circulated around to stir more unnecessary drama. 

All I can say is I just felt overwhelmed with the unverified and verified information yesterday. Last time, it took a toll on me and I wasn’t in a good shape, mentally, emotionally and physically. The new wave have taught me something and this time, I feel that I am able to handle the pressure once again as a source of information to the public. 

It’s beyond our control that the re-instated control measures have already disrupted wedding functions, running/sporting events, expos and many more. Even my upcoming B3 Doubles Tennis Invitational Charity Cup 2021 is put on hold until further notice. With all these setbacks, the highest priority is the safety and health of our nation and nothing is bigger than this. I do hope those affected can understand the latest development and we should be very blessed and appreciative on how the Brunei Government especially the Ministry of Health have been championing this cause to combat the spread since Day 1. 

I have been getting reports from witnesses that the people are still visible at crowded places and some are not even wearing masks or adhering to the SOPs. Then again, this latest development was just less than a day old so let’s hope the business retailers step up their game and enforce the SOPs accordingly for the safety of the public. I believe the Ministry of Health will carry out “Operasi Merati” on business premises and take stern actions to those who don’t comply to the SOPs set by the Ministry of Health. It’s also being shared that the Royal Brunei Police Force are also monitoring in public places and setting up road blocks to remind people to wear masks.

I urged all my friends and families to stay home for now or if you do go out to adhere to the SOPs from the Ministry of Health. I alone cannot fight this but with all of us, with the same vision, we can fight the spread and save the nation. 

T-Cross unveiled in Brunei

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in Social News

Check out the Volkswagen T-Cross that was recently launched in the market
Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Ratna Wijaya Brigadier General (R) Pengiran Haji Hasnan, Chairman of Maju Motors Sdn Bhd (3rd from left) graced the launch of the Volkswagen T-Cross at The Mall, Gadong, last week

It has been a while since we saw a launch of a car under the Volkswagen umbrella. As I was given at the heads up, I was kinda excited what Maju Motors have in store for the sneaks of the much awaited Volkswagen T-Cross. 

Needless to say, I was quite impressed by its looks and its features. Though it has been around for almost two years, it only made to Brunei waters this year. The final reveal to the public was held last week at The Mall where the launch was officiated by Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Ratna Wijaya Brigadier General (R) Pengiran Haji Hasnan, Chairman of Maju Motors Sdn Bhd and Pg Hj Rosli bin Pg Hj Daud, Head of Sales Division, Baiduri Finance Berhad. Also present was Chan Key Hong, the Managing Director of Maju Motors Sdn Bhd. 

What to love about T-Cross (from my point of view)

  • Striking exterior
  • Surprisingly spacious interior
  • Compact SUV
  • 1.0L turbo
  • Fuel efficient
  • CarPlay enabled
  • “Beats” premium sound system
  • Practical family car
  • Love the boxy feeling 
  • It uses USB-C ports
The guest of honour checking out the interior of the Volkswagen T-Cross

As for other specs, it is 1.0L TSI engine producing a 115 hp and 200 Nm of torque with an improved 7 speed DSG for a smooth and safe driving experience. It has integrated LED headlight and daylight running light. It sports a 17” rim wheels. Park Assist with Park Distance Control & Rear-view camera system. It is also equipped with 6 airbags 

Well, it has been reviewed by a few car websites that the T-Cross is a good driving experience and even well-mannered at cruising speed. I shall wait for the test drive unit and give a further in-depth review of the Volkswagen T-Cross. 

You can contact or visit Maju Motors showroom at Telanai. It’s a pity that they won’t bring many units due to limited production. There will be shipments regularly to cater to the demand. 

The rear view of T-Cross
The 17″ inch wheels on the Volkswagen T-Cross
Check it out. The Volkswagen T-Cross is powered by Beats Audio
Love the fact they have USB-C ports and also available at the back passenger area

SONAX CUP, a huge success

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in royal family, community, charity, Social News, Sports

Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Muda Abdul Hakeem, the President of Brunei Darussalam Golf Association, during the prize presentation of the Sonax Cup
Mike Chua, Managing Director of Sonax Brunei Sdn Bhd, handed the gross open category champion, Suhaimi Ibrahim
Mike Chua delivering his welcoming remarks during the prize presentation

The Sonax Cup by Brunei Darussalam Golf Association (BDGA) was completed last Sunday. The tournament ran for three days from Friday 19/3/2021 and a total of 244 golfers participated in the competition in various categories namely: the open (gross and net), senior and ladies. The total cash prizes for this event was $4450 and the list of winners is as attached, including the champion in the gross open category which went to Suhaimi Ibrahim who shot 71 gross, one under par. Suhaimi Ibrahim also received the Sonax Challenge Trophy presented by Mr. Mike Chua, the Managing Director of Sonax Brunei Sdn. Bhd. The tournament took place at Mentiri Golf Club.

There was also a hole-in-one winner, Lim Shen Quan, on hole 13th, and he won the $5000 cash prize. 

This was the first BDGA golf tournament at the national level for the year 2021, with next one planned for 28 to 30 of May at the RBGCC. This tournament was a great success with participation of more than 200 golfers. BDGA thanked Sonax Brunei Sdn. Bhd., the tournament main sponsor, and expressed the hope that its partnership with Sonax Brunei Sdn. Bhd. would continue to grow. 

BDGA also gave $1000 donation to “Tabung Anak Anak Yatim” (Orphans Fund) and the representative from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Ms. Nurul Nazurah bte Jaya, was present to receive the sponsorship.

Since the new BDGA Governing Council was elected back since 5th January this year, it received feedbacks from golfers in Brunei that the most sought after deliverable is golf tournaments. Hence, BDGA decided to organize the first tournament (Sonax Cup) and a few more planned for this year. This will help to provide a competitive platform at the national level for golfers to showcase their skills. In the process, it was hoped that scout for new golfing talents could be spotted and to be further developed to represent the country in the near future. Images courtesy of Pg Azam Omar and Shahiruddin.

Overall Gross:
Suhaimi Ibrahim  71
Ak Syakir  74
Ahmad Yani  75

Overall Net:
Angphula Sharpa  67 OCB
Chong Chee Soon  67
Ak Rizam Faizal Pg Salleh  67

A – Division Category:
Kahar Bakar 70
Irwan Hj Hamid 71 OCB
Pg Zaki  71

B – Division Category:
Hj Rosmadee 69
Dullah Sitai 70
Hj Ramlie Damit  71

C – Division Category:
Mardhini Khan Ali 70
Ariff Dato Suhaimi 70
Pg Ibrahim 70

Senior +60 Category:
Lim Soon Bee  65
Hj Zamri   68
Dato Sheik Adnan  68

Ladies Category: 
Almas  Khamis 74
Salyahrinah Yahya  75
Hjh Rusni Hj Lamat 76

Pro – Category:
Pg Wira Salleh 72 OCB
Qazzri Aslimon 72
Qawim Aslimon 73

Hole in One on Hole no.13 on Friday 19/3/21: LIM SHEN QUAN 

Nearest to the Pin (NTP)
NTP No.7  Hj Shaiful
NTP No.9  Suhaimi 
NTP No.13  Pro John
NTP No.16  Pg Ibrahim

Hole-in-One winner Lim Shen Quan, winning himself BND 5,000
Way to go, Soon!!!

Congratulations Nautical Aisya

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in technology, community, Social News

Guest of honour Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Retired Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, Second Minister of Defence at the Doa Selamat Ceremony and Tour of MV Nautical Aisya 2021.
The event being feature in the local news



NAUTICAL AISYA has recently completed her 5-year dry docking maintenance in Singapore and has returned to Brunei to continue her campaign for Brunei Shell Petroleum by 1st February 2021.

A Doa Selamat ceremony commemorated the milestone for Jisco Marine for achieving 1 Million Manhours without loss time injury since 2017. This milestone is an accomplishment for the company, especially their team members for their outstanding contribution, dedication and efforts in upholding the highest standards in maintaining safety.

Following that, Jisco Marine will continue with the deployment of our 2nd Bruneian flag vessel – MWV FALGOUT, to service a long-term charter with Brunei Shell Petroleum Company for its Offshore Reliability Maintenance Contract (ORMC) project. The charter will commence sometime in mid-February 2021.

During the tour of MV Nautical Aisya
Guest of honoour checking out the deck

MWV FALGOUT is a Dynamic Position 2 offshore maintenance vessel and will be one of the first hybrid diesel-powered engined vessel working in Brunei waters. She is equipped with a 70 metric tonne crane and will be able to accommodate up to 200 persons onboard.

Present was Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Retired Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof, Second Minister of Defence. Shaikh Khalid bin Shaikh Haji Ahmad, Chairman and Director Serikandi Group of Companies in his speech explained that Nautical Aisya, Accommodation Work Boat, AWB measuring at 85 metres, is in contract under the Marine Department, Brunei Shell Petroleum, BSP since 2018. It holds a good safety and trustworthiness record, and has also received an appreciation for being BSP’s best ship in 2019. 

The function followed by momento presentation to the Second Minister of Defence and Award Presentation to best local crew of the year 2020.

For updates, you can follow their Facebook page and congratulations once again on the milestone and your upcoming contract with BSP.

Jati Transport feted tops sales and long service staff

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in automative, Social News

Yang Mulia Pg Anak Haji Ja’afar Ibni Al-Marhum Pg Pemancha Pg Anak Hj Mohd Alam, Executive Chairman of Jati Transport (3rd from right) with Mr. Andrew Chiam, Executive Director of Jati Transport (4th from right). Also in the picture are Top Sales Award winners – Luqman bin Abdullah, Hj Mohamed Fitzila bin Hj Mohamed Yunus, Ivan Chia Ik Voon and Chiew Yan Yan.
Mr. Andrew Chiam presented awards to the longest service award at Autohaus earlier today. The recipients are Jeronimo G Castro (10 years), Pg Hj Sallehuddin Pg Batara (30 years), Steven Chong Meng Watt (30 years), Zaikiah Hj Abdullah (30 years) and Law Siew Lane Angella (20 years)

In 2020, the brand with the three-pointed star increased its unit sales by 12% and taking the top spot for the luxury automobile segment in Brunei.

More than half of the Mercedes-Benz sold by Jati Transport in 2020 were compact cars, with CLA being the best-selling model in this segment followed closely by the A-Class. With the introduction of the all-new GLA and GLB in the third quarter of last year, the growth within the compact cars segment is expected to continue.

In the performance automobile segment, the company delivered more than 50 units of Mercedes-AMG to customers in 2020, setting a new record and making Mercedes-AMG the number 1 performance automobile brand in Brunei. The growth was mainly due to the increased in demand for the AMG 35 and 45 model series.

The number 1 position in the premium luxury automobile brand was a result of the strong support of their valued customers and the great teamwork of their dedicated staff. Jati Transport took the opportunity to honour their top sales executives and long service employees at the Star Performer Awards ceremony.

The Top Sales Awards were presented by the Executive Chairman of Jati Transport – Yang Mulia Pg Anak Haji Ja’afar Ibni Al-Marhum Pg Pemancha Pg Anak Hj Mohd Alam.

The long service awards were presented by Mr. Andrew Chiam, Executive Director of Jati Transport.

Top Sales Awards

  1. Top Sales Overall Winner – HAJI MOHAMED FITZILA BIN HAJI MOHAMED YUNUS
  2. Top Sales Overall Runner Up – LUQMAN HAKIM BIN ABDULLAH
  3. Top Sales (Mercedes-AMG) – IVAN CHIA IK VOON
  4. Top Sales (Mercedes G-Class) – CHIEW YAN YAN

Long Service Awards

  1. 30 years – PG HJ SALLEHUDDIN PG BATARA
  2. 30 years – STEVEN CHONG MENG WATT
  3. 30 years – ZAIKIAH HJ ABDULLAH
  4. 20 years – LAW SIEW LANE (ANGELLA)
  5. 10 years – JERONIMO G CASTRO
Hj Mohamed Fitzila bin Hj Mohamed Yunus received for the top sales award and he has only been in Jati Transport for two years
Ivan Chia Ik Voon earned for the Best Sales award in AMG segment
Luqman bin Abdullah placed runner up in the Sales Overall performance
Jeromino G Castro receiving Long Service award in Jati Transport (10 years)
Law Siew Lane has been in the company for 20 years and received a long service award too
Pg Sallehuddin Pg Batara has been in the company for 30 years
Jati Transport with their sales team

Mercedes-Benz New Year Open Haus

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in automative, lifestyle, Social News

Jati Transport Sdn Bhd is hosting a three days new year open house celebration at Mercedes-Benz Autohaus from 10am to 5pm this weekend (8th January to 10th January) inviting their customers and fans of Mercedes-Benz Brunei.

Apart from the celebration, Jati Transport introduces their latest offers on the Mercedes-Benz S 450L, E 300 and C 300.

The S 450L comes with numerous assistance system that keeps you safe on the road at all time. DISTRONIC Active Proximity Control and Active Steer Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver to keep a safe distance and steer. The speed is now adjusted automatically ahead of curves or junctions. This is complemented by Evasive Steering Assist, a considerably improved Active Lane Keeping Assist and also the additional functions of the Active Emergency Stop Assist. Also included in the Driving Assistance package is PRESAFE PLUS®, which additionally takes into account dangerous situations caused by traffic following behind, such as a rear impact for example.

The interior of the S-Class sets new standards when it comes to comfort and well-being. The extended ambient lighting showcases the interior like a work of art by composing 10 colour worlds from a total of 64 colours.

THE S 450 L. The price has been lowered from the original selling price. Do check it out.
THE S 450 L AMG version
You can test drive the S 450 L

The E 300 is available in two equipment line, the AMG Line and AVANTGARDE. The AMG line is distinguished by its brawny AMG bodystyling that enhances the sportiness and sophistication of the vehicle. It carries the modern luxury hallmark and exclusivity made possible through Mercedes-Benz craftsmanship.

While the AVANTGARDE line demonstrates your extravagant  leanings. The distinctive front bumper immediately attracts attention, while design elements in chrome and aluminium add dynamic highlights. 

The interior of the E 300 embodies the synthesis of emotion and intelligence. It includes two brilliant next-generation high resolution displays. Beneath their shared glass cover, the two displays visually conflate into a wide-screen cockpit that seems to be hovering in thin air, creating a central element that emphasises the horizontal orientation of the interior design. As the instrument cluster, this wide-screen cockpit contains a large display with virtual instruments in the direct field of vision of the driver as well as a central display above the centre console. The driver can choose between three different styles to select their preferred look for the wide-screen instrument cluster: “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive”. As the entire cockpit is fully digital, the driver is free to configure the information and views and thus create their own personal cockpit.

The Mercedes-Benz E Class. Also the price has been lowered.
Mercedes AutoHaus Open Day until 10th January 2021

The C 300 combines emotionality with intelligence. The vehicle’s appearance is defined in particular by its front end and the design of the headlamps and tail lights. The C 300 comes with the AMG Line that features the diamond radiator grille as standard.

The C 300 adopts the control and display concept from the SClass and comes with a fully digital instrument display with three individually selectable display styles. It’s has the touch-sensitive controls in the steering wheel. The infotainment system can additionally be operated via the touchpad with controller in the centre console or by means of LINGUATRONIC voice control.

Contact RA

ranoadidas (a) gmail.com
Instagram & Snapchat @ranoadidas
Contact: +6738677773

About RA

A blogger since 2002, using platforms from blogspot, joomla and now currently wordpress. A readership that stands on average of 20,000 visits per month. Also on active on social media platform on IG, Facebook and Snapchat (@ranoadidas)

Advertisement rates

You can email me for your interest in advertisement packages. There's also a bundle package with social media postings.