Wu Chun to expand Bake Culture

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in community, healthy, culture, lifestyle, food, Social News

 


Wu Chun spending time with his overseas fans
 


A customized and personalized cake for Wu Chun from the pastry chef during the launch of the Bake Culture at Serusop branch
 

During the launch of the third outlet of Bake Culture at Serusop, Wu Chun announced expansion in China and USA by 2017 for Bake Culture. Interesting to know that Wu Chun has bigger plans for the successful bakery that is popular in Brunei and Taiwan.

He hinted that by November, Bake Culture will be opened at Chongqing, China and followed by another outlet in New York, USA. Both outlets are in the process of renovation.

One of the local signature item, Roti Satay, will be introduced in the said outlets and the idea is to spread and share the culture of different countries.

He also highlighted that the pastry chefs have been trained for the past twelve months inclusive of food tasting for the customers’ needs.

It was also good to see Wu Chun fans flying in from China to support the launch and Wu Chun humbly enough spent time with them and took photos.

The other question that was put forward to Wu Chun was on the upcoming movie where he is being featured, “My Other Home”, an upcoming Chinese-American sports biographical film directed by Yang Zi and produced by Huang Jianxin, starring American basketball player Stephon Marbury as himself. Awesome. It’s not sure when the movie will be out in Brunei but it is slated for a China release on 4th August and yes, China is a huge market for sure.

Congratulations Wu Chun on the expansion of Bake Culture (oh ya, he loves banana muffin from Bake Culture) and I hope to see your movie in Brunei hopefully 🙂

 

 


The design of the new outlet in Serusop
 


Photo opportunity with Baiduri Bank associates
 


Wu Chun with invited guests
 

 


Wu Chun with his Bake Culture team
 


Wu Chun speaking to Progresif team
 


The cakes section
 


These look delicious
 


Fans waiting to enter the bakery
 

 


They flew in just for Wu Chun 😀
 


Check out his new movie – “The Other Home” to released in China this August
 

Bersama Raykat

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in community, lifestyle

 

 

 

I have missing all these prestigious events and finally I had a taste of Bersama Rakyat with 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 Darussalamn conjunction with His Majesty’s 71st birthday celebration at Taman SOAS. It was not as crowded as previous years but the spirit remains high. The people of Brunei Darussalam got up close and personal to greet His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and other members of the Royal Family.

Also attending the ceremony were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Mateen.

I missed the performances but judging from the pictures, it looked pretty colourful and vibrant. I can’t imagine the stamina and the willingness of His Majesty the Sultan, even at the age of 71, to spend at least 2 hours in the humid conditions to meet and greet. I truly salute His Majesty for his dedication and time to spend time with the people and may Allah bless him for his generousity and kindness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAS turns 60

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in community, family, education

 

 

St Andrew’s School will be celebrating her 60th Anniversary at ICC on Friday, 4 August 2017 from 7.00 pm to 10.00 pm.

Dinner tickets @$60 per head are on sale in the school. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet/reunite with friends and ex-classmates and I will definitely be attending this event with a few of my old class mates. It will be a good time to bring back old memories and have a mini reunion with ex-mates and teachers.

For enquiries, please contact : Tel : 8326032, 2222099 & 2226032. Fax : 2234708. Email: sasadmin@saintandrew.edu.bn

 

 


I can’t remember when this was but it’s definitely in the late 80s.. Yes, I’m still that young now 😀
 


A shot taken last year at St. Andrew’s School where former students have become parents and continuing the legacy by sending their children to St. Andrew’s School
 

Hello Seoul. Part II

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in community, culture, travel, lifestyle, Social News

 


Friends I made during my 5 day trip in Seoul, Korea. Taken late June 2017.
 


My group mates – Ogia (Papa New Guinea), Ulzii (Mongolia), Mark (Korea), Andrea (Indonesia), Daniel (Korea), Deva (Indonesia), Ron (Indonesia) and Khulan (Mongolia). A huge thanks to Daniel for taking care of our group since Day 1.

I’m still reminiscing my day in Seoul, Korea during my short visit for the Asian Cultural Young Leaders’ Camp 2017 (25th June to 30th June). It seemed like yesterday but it has been almost a month since that experience. I made the conscious choice to accept the offer even though it was during the first few days of Eid Mubarak celebration. My deepest gratitude to the Korean Embassy to Brunei and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Korea for giving me this opportunity in the first place.

The hospitality was top notch and MOFA (Korea) knew how to take care of all the representatives from Asia Pacific during their stay in Seoul, Korea. We bonded on the first night with the youth from different walks of life. From Japan to Australia to Mongolia to Afghanistan, you name it. It was an emotional farewell on the final dinner before we departed back to our own countries. This is my biggest highlight of the Asian Cultural Young Leaders’ Camp 2017 #ACYLC2017 #2017ACYLC – the diplomacy and friendship among different nationalities and cultures. This is a sign of world peace where all of us can get along and make a difference in the world. I just wish for longer days and freer time to further strengthen the bonds and friendship among my newly acquainted friends.

I previously shared my story on PyeongChang, the upcoming Winter Games in February 2018. Now let allow me to share my other interesting trips at Korea. First up was the visit to the Ojukheon House at Gangneung near PyeonChang, a few hours ride from Seoul. If you really keen to understand the culture of Korea, this is a must visit territory.

Ojukheon House. According to history, Ojukheon House was where Shin Saimdang (1504-1551) lived and where her son Yi I (penname Yulgok; scholar and politician of the Joseon Period) was born. It was built during the early Joseon Dynasty and remains one of the oldest wooden residential buildings in Korea. It was designated as Treasure No. 165 in 1963 and has been maintained by the descendants throughout the generations.The house is made of black bamboo trees and still holding up. The interesting fact is that Shin Saimdang is featured on the Korean Won 50,000 note and still is. Her contribution as a artist and poet back in the 16th century and she’s the only lady being featured on Korean currency. If you are heading for the Winter Olympics at PyeongChang, then do visit Ojukheon House.

Seongyojang House. Another place I found interesting was Seongyojang House which was built back in the 1750s. Now why this is a unique place is because it reminds me of Air BnB. Let me share you a bit of history. It was created in 1703 by Yi Naebeon, an 11th generation descendant of Prince Hyoryeondaegun, part of the Hyoryeong royal family during the Joseon Dynasty. The idea behind Seongyojang House was to promote happiness and joy among relatives living there. Now I was told that back then, the owner of the residence would welcome guests and visitors to stay and they won’t accept any form of monetary in exchange. The guests were also well fed by the host and in return, they would shower the host with gifts instead as a sign of gratitude.

I’m still surprised that the Seongyojang House is very well maintained after 300 years and has past 10 generations. The structures are still intact and well preserved and it was even selected by Korean Broadcasting System as the top 10 well preserved original dwellings in Korea. A must visit destination if you are around PyeongChang area. I’m glad that such historical places do still exist and well maintained.

 

 


Lunch around PyeongChang while being briefed on the Winter Olympics
 


The view outside Seongyojang House. An interesting and historical place to visit.
 

Samsung Innovation Museum. According to Visit Korea, Samsung Innovation Museum (SIM) is a business hall as well as the largest sized industrial electronics museum in Korea, displaying the growing steps of Samsung Electronics Corporation at a glance. It is located inside of Suwon Digital City where Samsung Electronics Corporation was initially established 47 year ago. Starting from the time when electronics were first produced to the current trend of cutting-edge smart devices, the electronic industry has become more and more innovative. This history of innovation and the future of electronics are reflected in the museum while looking at the various exhibition halls, comprised of History of Samsung, Seeds of Innovation, Core of Innovation and Inspiring Innovation. The halls of Samsung Innovation Museum give a meaningful experience to figure out what innovation really means.

Ok, here goes my version – WWWOWWWW!!!! It’s like a city of its own and I could see associates of Samsung just cycling around to get to the other building. It’s also very heavily guarded so no one can simply just enter the Suwon Digital City. I seriously don’t mind working in this environment and it does feel quite futuristic (like in the movies). Too bad our group only tasted 5% of the Suwon Digital City. I wanted more but I guess there are restricted area.

In the museum, you will get to learn of the history of Samsung and also other inventions by inventors and also recognizing other brands that made an impact on our daily lives through time. For instance, the birth of washing machine or vacuum cleaner which helped to cut down longer hours of house chores. We were being educated on the existence of not just phones and TVs but also on other electrical appliances that play a part in our lives.

The admission is free and you will be guided by a museum presenter. It’s open from Monday to Friday but there won’t be any guided tour on a Saturday. You can take pictures but no filming recording is allowed. If you are not even a Samsung fan, this place is still worth a visit. I began to appreciate all these innovations after the tour. Thank you to all the inventors for making all these technological advances possible.

 


At the Suwon Digital City where Samsung Innovation Museum is located. This is one of the signs on the street. So be mindful when you walk 😉
 


You’re not allowed to take close up shots in the SIM or even video recording. But this kind of shots or selfies are welcomed 😀
 


Viewing the gallery while learning the important inventions which lead to our current technology
 


The 105” inch Samsung Curve UHD TV. The price for this is valued at USD 110,000 *Gullllpp*
 

Arirang’s Heart to Heart show. It’s not as easy as 1-2-3 to be selected to be featured on Arirang News, one of Korea’s leading broadcasting news that has global reach of 138 million households. A big thank you to MOFA Korea for making this possible as I was one of the special guests for Heart to Heart show in Arirang TV. The other special guest was Ashani Yusron, a big Hallyu fan from Indonesia. The recorded show for our session will up in one or two weeks’ time. Thank you to Manu (the producer) and Jennifer, the host for Heart to Heart and not forgetting our special friend, Mary.

This particular episode talks about our take of Korean culture and how it has been well received in our respective countries and also a bit of background of what we do professionally in the line of being social influencers. I shall keep you posted when the show will be set for release. Thank you once again to Arirang TV for having us on your show. This is definitely a milestone for 2017.


Thank you, Jennifer (right) for being such a sporting host
 


With the producer of Heart to Heart, Manu 😀
 


An awesome session with Jennifer. Can’t wait to see the actual show
 

Making bimbibap. Yes, this is the real deal. I normally being served at Korean Restaurants in Brunei but this one .. this one is the real deal. You get to see the traditional way of making bimbibap. For your info, bibimbap means mixed rice and in Korea, bimbibap is served as a bowl of warm white rice and topped with namul (sauteed and seasoned veggies, gochujang (chilli paste), soy sauce or doenjang (fermented soybean paste). Other additions are such as fried egg and slice beef. Then you stir the contents inside the bowl before you eat.

That day we visited a Korean restaurant (can’t remember the name) and we were given the experience to mix the bimbibap in a humungous bowl that is enough to feed at least a hundred people. I love the authentic taste of it too and the hospitality from the restaurant owners. Now being back in Brunei, I have more appreciation of how bimbibap is being served and maybe, just maybe, my expectations in terms of presentation and taste have slightly increased.

 


I had the privilege to stir this around. One massive bowl for bimbibap. This is how authentic it gets 😀
 


The customary selfie pose, of course, with bimbibap
 


One of the best lunches during our trip
 


Having fun after an awesome bimbibap lunch

Farewell dinner. The awesome about this program was that we were fed very well and also on time. The program was so structured that they made meal times a priority and also on time. I don’t know how they did it but they pulled it off consistently for 5 straight days. Amazing!! Our final dinner was Seoul Marina which was like an hour away from our hotel, Koreana and we hoped for a variety of choices as we had too much of kimchi during our previous meals. And yes we did!! The food was great and it was also an emotional farewell session as a few representatives from each group shared their learning and experiences from the #ACYLC2017.

We have our own Facebook group page and it’s flooded with pictures and memories. You were right, this is not a good bye but merely a transitional period where we will have newer opportunities to meet once again. It has been three weeks and it’s still fresh in my memory. Thank you once again, MOFA Korea and The Korea Foundation for hosting us and this has been one of the best experiences in a long time. I hope to see more of this in the near future.

 

 


One of our cute volunteers from Korea. Thank you for helping us out.
 


The volunteers from Korea Foundation
 


She’s one awesome emcee and is a TV presenter for Arirang TV.
 

 


Nice shot with the Samsung 360 camera. Taken at Anmok Beach.
 


I had a nice bingsu at GongCha by Anmok Beach
 


Strolling by the beach
 

Baiduri Bank – Domestic Retail Bank of the Year Award

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in community, bank

 


Pg Azaleen bin Pg Dato Hj Mustapha, Head of Retail Banking and Branch Network at Baiduri Bank receiving the award for “Domestic Retail Bank of the Year for Brunei 2017” from the Asian Banking & Finance Magazine on behalf of Baiduri Bank. With him is Tim Charlton, editor-in-chief of Asian Banking & Finance magazine.
 

For the fifth consecutive year, Baiduri Bank was awarded the “Domestic Retail Bank of the Year for Brunei 2017” from the Asian Banking & Finance Magazine.

Pg Azaleen bin Pg Dato Hj Mustapha, Head of Retail Banking and Branch Network at Baiduri Bank received the award on behalf of the bank during a ceremony at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore on 13 July 2017.

“We are delighted to receive this award from the Asian Banking & Finance magazine. This would be the fifth consecutive year we’ve received the Domestic Retail Bank of the Year for Brunei.”

 

 


The previous edition of Asian Banking & Finance Magazine
 

Speaking on the efforts made by the Bank, Pg Azaleen further said that product innovation has been a key success factor in winning the award. “We strive to be at the forefront of [banking] innovation in Brunei. Among some of the highlights include the launch of MerchantSuite, an online payment platform for MSMEs; the launch of the Micro Account; and the introduction of Dragon Pass, the world’s first revolutionary all-in-one digital airport companion, for our Visa Inifinite and Platinum card programmes.”

He further elaborated that in providing opportunities for customers to diversify their investment portfolio, Baiduri Capital, a wholly-owned subsidiary, introduced the China A Shares late last year as well as adding Bonds and Exchange Traded Funds to its product range.

Since 2006, the Asian Banking & Finance (ABF) magazine has been honouring and recognising the best of the best in the Banking and Finance industry in Asia. It focuses on commercial and retail banking and on the securities market from a banking perspective.

 

His Majesty the Sultan at Yayasan’s Hari Raya celebration

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

 


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 and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Raabi’atul ‘Adawiyyah binti Pengiran Haji Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah; and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in a group photo. Click image to enlarge.
 


His Majesty viewing a huge portrait during a cycling event
 

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 and Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam, together with other members of the royal family, graced the 14th Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations at the Plenary Hall of the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas recently.

Accompanying Their Majesties at the event were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah.

Also accompanying Their Majesties were His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Raabi’atul ‘Adawiyyah binti Pengiran Haji Bolkiah; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bolkiah; Her Royal Highness Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah; and Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Upon arrival, Their Majesties and members of the royal family were greeted by Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Haji Osman, Minister of Education and Chairman of the Yayasan Board of Directors.

 

 


His Majesty the Sultan and members of the Royal Family at Progresif pavilion
 


His Majesty the Sultan consented to sign the plaque from Progresif. Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd (Progresif) has pledged to continue with its efforts to stay progressive in support of the country’s Vision 2035 aspirations. One of the ways the company is helping to realise this ambitious vision is through employing more locals in its workforce and hinted in launching the 4G network from Progresif.
 

 

The event also featured an exhibition from the Prime Minister’s Office; the ministries of culture, youth and sports, finance, education, religious affairs, and health; as well as several private sector firms, namely the Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), Brunei LNG Sdn Bhd, Brunei Gas Carriers Sdn Bhd, and Brunei Methanol Company.

Also participating as exhibitors were Telekom Brunei Berhad, Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd, DST Communications Sdn Bhd, DARe (Darussalam Enterprise), Royal Brunei Airlines (RB), Institution of Surveyors, Engineers and Architects (PUJA), as well as several local banks namely BIBD, Baiduri Bank and Perbadanan TAIB.

With the consent of His Majesty, Yayasan invited over 1,000 of its top achievers – comprising those who have received awards or medals for their accomplishments and good services in relevant fields – to take part in the celebrations.

These individuals, mostly comprised of public figures, academicians, and Jasawan (religious figures), have gained success and received recognition in various fields such as education, religion and literature – both individually and as a group – at the national, regional and international levels.

The participants also include Qaris and Qariahs, including winners of Al-Quran memorising competitions; Youth Leadership Award recipients; award recipients in the medical, engineering, finance, community, and management and services fields; winners of sports events; and students who have been given recognition for being the top 10 in the world in certain subjects.

Such achievements fall in line with one of Brunei Vision 2035 objectives: that of making the country known internationally for its highly educated and skilful citizens.

The invitation of the 1,000 high achievers to this year’s ICC Hari Raya celebrations is a manifestation of His Majesty’s concern towards their success in their respective fields, and hoped to motivate them to increase their efforts further to achieve more success and excellence in the future.

It was also meant as a show of appreciation, support and recognition towards the invitees’ good services, achievement and success, which have brought honour to the nation and serve as a model example to the younger generation to work hard towards achieving success and excellence in their lives. Text courtesy of Lyna Mohd of Borneo Bulletin and images courtesy of Fazizul Haqimie.

 

 

 


His Majesty the Sultan with members of Royal Family at Brunei Gas Carrier pavilion. Also present was the new Managing Director of Brunei Gas Carriers, John Douglas Cook.
 


His Majesty the Sultan at DST pavilion
 


Her Majesty Duli Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Pemancha Pengiran Anak Haji Mohamed Alam viewing BIBD pavilion
 


His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Raabi’atul ‘Adawiyyah binti Pengiran Haji Bolkiah
 

 


His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Raabi’atul ‘Adawiyyah binti Pengiran Haji Bolkiah at PUJA booth
 

A major boost for BruWild

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

 


Marina Laker, the High Commission for Canada to Brunei Darussalam handed over donation to Liaw Lin Ji, President of BruWILD (Biodiversity and Natural History Society) last weekend. Image courtesy of the High Commission for Canada.
 

Last weekend, the High Commission for Canada presented a donation of B$1,250.00 to the Biodiversity and Natural History Society (BruWILD), demonstrating Canada’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the fight against climate change.

In recognition of BruWILD’s environmental initiatives and partnership with the High Commission for Canada, High Commissioner Her Excellency Marina Laker presented the donation – a gift to her by the diplomatic corps for her farewell – to the President of BruWILD Liaw Lin Ji. The funds will be used to support BruWILD’s biodiversity conservation efforts, wildlife rescue, and sustainable development education.

High Commissioner Laker said, “Brunei has a diverse ecosystem and is blessed with a rich biodiversity. It is home to over a thousand species of plants and animals, many of which are endemic to Borneo. BruWILD is playing an important role promoting the protection of Brunei’s wildlife through its rescue efforts, and by raising awareness through its educational programs of the importance of environmental sustainability.”

“When a species becomes extinct, the resulting ecological imbalance can create a cascading effect that threatens other species within its ecosystem”, she added. “That is why we must all find ways to contribute to global action to help conserve native species and habitats.”

As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary of Confederation throughout 2017, the Government of Canada has committed to engage and inspire broad awareness of the importance of protecting wildlife and natural habitats, while providing leadership in the ongoing stewardship of a clean environment and sustainable economy. Canada is involved with at least seven United Nations environmental groups, and has aligned itself with 152 countries – including Brunei – by ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Last month, the High Commission for Canada partnered with BruWILD and The Collective to mark World Environment Day. The event provided students and environmental enthusiasts a chance to observe and learn about the various ecosystems that exist in Brunei. For more updates, you can follow BruWild Facebook Page and their IG @bruwildofficial

 

 


Last month, BruWild, High Commission for Canada and The Collective held a World Environment Day. Image courtesy of BruWild Facebook Page.
 


A student showcasing her project to Her Excellency Marina Laker. Image courtesy of BruWild Facebook Page.
 

 

Brunei and Singapore leaders celebrate 50th anniversary of currency agreement

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

 

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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 and His Excellency Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore jointly launched the new $50 commemorative notes issued by the two countries at the Instant Presidential Palace in Singapore this morning. Image taken by EPA.
 

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Officiating the ceremony to commemorate the milestone. Image taken by AFP.
 

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 and His Excellency Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore jointly launched the new $50 commemorative notes issued by the two countries in a ceremony held today at the Istana Presidential Palace, Singapore, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore.

The Currency Interchangeability Agreement took effect on 12 June 1967 between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore to facilitate improved economic and trade relations between the parties, and is a key economic cooperation between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. It was signed by the then Chairman of the Brunei Currency Board (now known as Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam) and the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Currency, Singapore (which merged with the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 2002).

Under the Agreement, AMBD and MAS will accept the currency issued by the other, and to exchange it at par and without charge, into their own currency. Banks in both countries will accept for deposit from the general public and businesses, currency issued by the other country at par.

Through the years, the Agreement has brought about economic benefits and strengthened the financial links between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore. Today’s joint launch of the new $50 commemorative notes reaffirms to the public, retailers and financial institutions in both countries that Brunei Darussalam and Singapore currency notes are still interchangeable at par.

The commemorative notes will be made available to the general public both in Brunei Darussalam and Singapore from 2pm today, 5 th July 2017, while the circulation notes will be available from 2pm Friday, 7th July 2017 across all banks and their branches in both countries.

For more information on the 50th Anniversary of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement between Brunei Darussalam and Singapore, please visit AMBD’s website at www.ambd.gov.bn or download the AMBD App through the Appstore or Google Playstore.

There has been so much buzz on the commemorative notes from AMBD as many were interested in them. I won’t be surprised if the stocks they have currently will run out in a few days time. I’m hoping to get hold of them once I get back from my short trip.

 

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The new Brunei BND50 note
 

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The new Singapore SGD 50 note
 

Interesting fact: The special bills, which were jointly designed by Brunei’s Abdul Ajihis Haji Terawih, and Singapore artists Eng Siak Loy and Weng Ziyan, pay tribute to the ties between the two countries.

The front of the B$50 and S$50 notes remain unique to each sovereign nation – Brunei’s features a portrait of the Sultan, and Singapore one of its first president Yusof Ishak – the shared design on the back of these notes reflects “our common values, as well as key areas of our close cooperation, including in defence education and tourism.

The designs on the back include sketches of students, among other items.

The flowers in full bloom on the front symbolise “the flourishing friendship between the two countries”, a joint statement by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and its Brunei counterpart said.

The front also includes the 50th anniversary logo of the Currency Interchangeability Agreement, which came into effect on June 12, 1967.

 

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The Identical Numbered Notes Set and Brunei 3-in-1 Uncut Sheet. Limited stocks. Click image to enlarge.
 

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Brunei 8-in-1 Uncut Sheet and Brunei 40-in-1 Uncut Sheet. Limited stocks. Click image to enlarge.
 

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Coffee Table Book
 

Rano in Seoul – Part I

Written by Rano Iskandar on . Posted in community, culture, travel, lifestyle, Social News

 


Thank you, Daniel, for picking me up at the Incheon Airport upon my arrival last weekend
 


Our first Open Talk session where each country given an opportunity to share about their latest trends of social media and internet of things in their respective countries
 

So how have your Hari Raya (Eid Mubarak) celebration been? It has been almost a week and I can’t wait to get back home after spending almost a week in Republic of Korea. A big thanks to the Republic of Korea Embassy in Brunei Darussalam for selecting me to be part of the recent Asian Cultural Youth Leaders’ Camp 2017 in Seoul, Korea.

The ACYLC 2017 was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Korean Foundation. The 5 day program was attended by other representatives from 20 other countries in Asia Pacific. I even made acquaintance with a friend from Papa New Guinea and Fiji. The most important outcome were the friendship and the diplomacy that was created (or re-created) among other different nationalities. I just don’t know where to begin. All I can say for now is that #2017ACYLC program has achieved its objective in forming strategic cultural diplomacy among other nationalities. Even in a short period of time, the hardest part was the goodbyes and the see-you-next-time gestures.

The event started with an orientation or what we call the ice-breaker session with all the delegates. Each of us were given a min or two to introduce ourselves and I was selected to be in Group B (with Indonesia, Korea, Papa New Guinea, Mongolia) during the first evening. We weren’t warm up until the next day when we started to do our presentation during the “Open Talk” session. It was the most interesting part as we learnt the culture of how internet and technology play a part in their respective countries.

While Brunei has a higher internet penetration which also equates to higher social media penetration, other countries have different levels of penetration and social media presence. Did you know that Brunei has more than 100% of mobile penetration in the region? This means at least one of us have dual sim cards. As for Brunei, Instagram and Facebook have been the main source of updating statuses while Youtube remains the most popular for pleasure viewing.

In Korea, Facebook is widely popular with Instagram on the rise. Around 70% of the Koreans I met recently own an IG account while all of them have a Facebook account. Kakao Talk is Korea’s leading messaging app and not many of them communicate like how Bruneians do – WhatsApp. I downloaded the app to give a shot since I have more than two Korean friends. I would say that it’s similar to Line but cleaner and efficient. I like it but I won’t be using it as much since it’s not a frequent app being used in Brunei.

 


Around 20 representatives from different countries in the Asian Cultural Youth Leaders’ Camp 2017. Thank you, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Korea and Korean Foundation.
 


Shooting with a fish eye lens
 


We had a brief appearance at Arirang TV news. Awesome!!!
 


Seung-Hye Sun, Director of Cultural Cooperation Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sharing an interesting insight on Korea’s Digital Diplomacy and New Media. It really gave me a different perspective on MOFA’s initiative and I wish other countries can do the same to strengthen the diplomacy between countries.
 


I shared the trends in Brunei and how internet penetration is quite high in Brunei Darussalam
 


With the beautiful ladies from Mongolia, Uzi and Khulan
 

We spent one and a half day in Seoul before heading of the PyeongChang, the official city for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Republic of Korea. We have a small preview at one of the sporting venues at PyeongChang, the Alpensia where the ski jump will be held. Now it’s the summer period so basically there isn’t any snow or ice for the matter. All we could see was a massive long slide for ski jump and a football size field and I believe the surface looks like artificial grass. It’s like seeing the ski jump venue but butt naked *lol*

Now here comes to the awesome thing – there were doing practice ski drills literally on the carpeted grass surface. It was as if I was watching a defying stunt in real life. I was worried that one of them would miscue a move and start rolling down the steep slope. However, all the attempts they performed were successful. Watching them practice was definitely some cheap thrill to watch them practice. The Ski Jumping event at Alpensia will be one of the biggest draw for the PyeongChang Games 2018.

I learnt something interesting about PyeongChang. Did you know that they lost first two bids for 2010 and 2014? And Pyeongchang ain’t giving up the fight to win the bid for 2018. According to one of the spokesperson of the PyeongChang Games Organizing Committee, it’s their facilities and capabilities that stood out and they are well prepared with contingency plans should there be unseen circumstances related to the weather conditions. In this case, it could be the lack of snow or ice due to the climate change. But not to worry as PyeongChang is ready for contingency plans.

PyeongChang Games will also introduce the first ever 5G telecommunications services. I was told that the 5G network is 20 times faster than our current 4G. Wow!! That’s simply fast… I can’t wait for that technology to come to Brunei but Korea will be the first to test its 5G capabilities during the Winter Games. You will be able to experience things such as 5G bus connection, 360 Virtual Reality and get this, an omni view from the athlete’s point of view (Awesome!!) in real-time and also holograms. Other than that, the area will be wifi ready around PyeongChang and you will be updated with traffic information and even parking information. The organisers have planned this ahead to make it more convenient for Olympic fans/goers. Kudos to them 😀

All these bits and pieces are just the attractions that I myself am keen to fly and check out the Winter Games at PyeongChang. It’s a wonderful city in Gangwon Province, South Korea. A mountainous area and also place home to several Buddhist temples including Woljeongsa Temple.

In the latest news, South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Monday urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help North Korea participate in next year’s Winter Games, saying it would contribute to regional and world peace. We could see that Moon renewed his push for “sports diplomacy,” urging IOC’s help to enable the North to take part. We shall see how this will unfold in the coming weeks or months.

Nonetheless, PyeongChang will be the biggest attraction for Korea in 2018. I have faith that the Winter Olympics will be a huge success and help to boost the economy of the country.

I shall share my other visits of my trip in Korea in my latter posts. Images taken by delegates of the #2017AYCLC

 


Posing with the official mascots for PyeongChang Games 2018
 


Taken at the Alpensia Ski Jump Centre. Behind the beautiful ladies is the actual ski jump hill. It looks weird without the snow/ice. And the athletes were still practising their jumps.. Amazing but risky!!
 


The view from the top of the Alpensia Ski Jump Centre. Can you see the inclination of the slope for the ski jump? Scary… I can feel the magnet pulling from my groin area HAHA
 


Group photo with the delegates at Alpensia Ski Jump Centre.
 

Hari Raya in Seoul

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

 

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His Excellency Dato Paduka Hj Rosli bin Hj Sabtu and his spouse, Datin Rohana Ering hosted an open house at their residence of the Brunei Embassy to Republic of Korea last Sunday. Korea celebrated Eid Mubarak a day earlier than Brunei. Thank you once again for your awesome hospitality.
 

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Group photo with the Brunei Embassy and students currently studying in Korea. Click image to enlarge.
 

It’s been a while since I’m away from Brunei Darussalam during Eid Mubarak/Hari Raya season. Of course, in Brunei, the celebration will last for the whole month and the significant times will be the first few days of Aidilfitri.

I accepted the offer (from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Korea) to be granted a slot at the Asian Cultural Youth Leaders’ Camp 2017 in Seoul, Republic of Korea and the timings coincided with the Hari Raya celebration. A big thank you also to the Korean Embassy in Brunei Darussalam for recommending me to attend the 5 day program which was fully sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.

Funnily enough upon my arrival in Seoul, Siti Han whatsapp me as I reached Koreana Hotel early in the morning and I was fortunate that I had no agenda when she offered me to join them for Brunei Embassy’s open house at the residence. Of course, why not 😀

I was warmly greeted and I was truly amazed by the hospitality of His Excellency Dato Paduka Hj Rosli bin Hj Sabtu and his spouse, Datin Rohana Ering. The ambassador also welcomed Bruneians residing in the country and hence most of them made up of UBD students who are under the exchange program (Discovery Year) while the rest are made up of post graduate and scholarship students.

It definitely felt like home and I managed to learn more about the culture of Korea through our conversations. It was also great to see familiar faces – Anna (Nurfauzanna) binti Abu Bakar and Hjh Rosni bin Hj Mohd Yassin who are posted currently at the Brunei Embassy in Seoul.

Thank you once more for the kind hospitality and I’m sure the Bruneians who were in the vicinity felt blessed and appreciative of your hospitality.

To my family back home and my friends, Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir Batin adn do buckle up while driving.

 

 

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Photo opportunity with some of the students
 

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His Excellency Dato Paduka Hj Rosli bin Hj Sabtu was a former Managing Director of AMBD before he is being posted to Korea back in July 2015
 

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Taken just outside the embassy’s residence. Very cozy and a safe neighborhood too.
 

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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)

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