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.
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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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 😀
With the host sponsor, BIBD, and other corporate sponsors – Progresif, Total E&P Borneo B.V., CIC Environmental Services and Brunei LNG as part of BIBD Youth Empowerment Summit 2020
BIBD’s Chief Marketing Officer Hjh Nurul Akmar binti Hj Mohd Jaafar during the press conference
Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) recently announced the launch of the BIBD Youth Empowerment Summit (BIBD YES!), a youth-focused initiative which aims to inspire positive change by reminding the youth that they are never too young to make a difference.
Themed, It’s Your Turn, the hybrid summit will be held on 12th & 13th December at Jerudong International School. Over 30 schools received their scholarship certificates for the Summit at a press conference held at the BIBD Executive Lounge.
BIBD’s Chief Marketing Officer Hjh Nurul Akmar binti Hj Mohd Jaafar said, “The youth today faces an unprecedented challenge unlike any of the previous generations. However, they are also blessed with an unparalleled amount of resources at their fingertips and support from both the public sector and the private sector who are cheering them on, as reflected by the many corporate sponsors for this initiative. At BIBD, we take the leadership in this particular tough time to stand together with our future generation, to educate and equip them to be mentally ready for the challenges to come in the future.”. She added that BIBD YES! is part of BIBD’s initiative to help prepare the youth for a world of uncertainty and rapid changes, and to address the pressing issue of high youth unemployment in the nation.
BIBD YES! 2020 is departing from a traditional event format in favour of a hybrid model, in accordance with COVID-19 precautions and guidelines. According to the event organizer, Shaun Hoon, “BIBD YES! will be capping the attendance to to 350 delegates, which is half of the full capacity of the venue. However, we will be expecting a larger than ever participation, with over 20 schools locally and overseas hosting part of the programs at their respective schools through live-telecast.” This is the first time a hybrid conference of such scale is to take place in Brunei and represents a sign of things to come as the events industry adapts to the new normal.
BIBD YES! will feature international speakers from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Hungary conducting live presentations online, along with prominent entrepreneurs and youth leaders in Brunei delivering keynote addresses physically. Among them will be Bruneian success story, Steve Lai, ChannelNews Asia’s leading Anchor and Producer. He will be dialing in on Zoom from Singapore to discuss about the importance of maintaining global perspectives amid a world of physical barriers.
This year, BIBD will be the leading supporter of the Summit as the Host Sponsor. Progresif will be the Platinum Sponsor. CIC Environmental Services and Total E&P Borneo B.V will be the Gold Sponsor, and Brunei LNG will be the Silver. The Summit is organized by Curious Mind, endorsed by Brunei Tourism Board, Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports and Ministry of Education, and supported by Young Entrepreneur Association Brunei, Global Shapers and Young Professional Network Brunei.
The Summit was originally slated for July this year, but had been delayed due to COVID19. During this time, BIBD YES! conducted a total of 20 Career Webinars over Zoom on a weekly basis reaching out to more than 1000 students and youths in Brunei, interviewing a wide range of career professionals, which include game designers, engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs and actor. For recordings of theses webinars and full information about the Summit, visit www.BIBDyes.com.
Members of the audience witnessing the event
Hafiza Mohamad, Head of Brand Strategy, Progresif receiving token of appreciation from Shuan Hoon, the event organizer.
Madam Tan, Principal of St. Andrew’s School receiving scholarship entries for the BIBD YES from Javed Ahmad.
Insurans Islam TAIB also sponsoring students from Seri Mulia Serjana School to attend the event in December
Students from Universiti Teknologi Brunei receiving sponsorship from Daniel Wong
Harina Ramlee, Corporate Services Manager, Total E&P Borneo B.V., presenting scholarship for students from Sekolah Menengah Pg. Anak Puteri Hjh Rasidah
Mizan Adiliah Hj Mohamed Deli, Human Resources, Communications & External Relations Manager, Brunei LNG, sponsoring students from Politeknik Brunei
Denny Azriman from Takaful Brunei handing over sponsorship for students from Universiti Brunei Darussalam to attend the BIBD YES event
Shaun Hoon, the founder of the youth empowerment event
Shaun Hoon of Curious Mind and Maurina Abd Hamid, Senior Officer of the Group Communications Department of Baiduri Bank during the press conference for the upcoming event, Youth Empowerment Conference
Hafiza binti Mohamad, Corporate Communications Manager at Progresif, presents a certificate of appreciation to Maurina Abd Hamid
Youth Empowerment Conference (YEC). First we have the Youth National Congress which was a huge success. Soon it will be the National Youth Day and next up will be the Youth Empowerment Conference where 700 youths will be involved, come 7-8 September 2019.
Shaun Hoon of Curious Mind and also the master mind of Youth Empowerment Conference was able to muster great international speakers from Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines and let’s not forget the local youth leaders from Brunei Darussalam.
The Youth Empowerment Conference is co-organized by Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd and Curious Mind with Baiduri Bank as the platinum sponsor of the said event.
A press conference was held as well as handing over of certifications to the contributors and also relevant institution and schools where students will be attending the YEC.
The press conference was chaired by Shaun Hoon, founder of Curious Mind and Maurina Abd Hamid, Senior Officer of the Group Communications Department of Baiduri Bank.
During the press conference, Shaun Soon said that the goal of the YEC is to inspire young people using fellow young people as role models so they are listening to a voice they can relate to and really believe that anything is possible when our young people set their minds to it. His goals of the YEC are 1) to cultivate a global mindset 2) to expose the youth to the future employment and 3) to instill good values in the youth.
Some of the keynote speakers include winner of JCI’s Top Young Person of the World in 2013 Linh Do, who worked alongside Al Gore’s climate change initiative and Harvard Alumnus, Stevie Award winner and VP of United Nations in Western Australia Dr Sandy Chong, together with member of the Forbes Coach Council KarFei Cheah. Such a beautiful line up but sadly, I won’t be in Brunei for the YEC as I will be outstation for work.
As mentioned before, Baiduri Bank is the Platinum Sponsor for Youth Empowerment Conference where they will provide 100 seats on complimentary basis to students from Institute Of Brunei Technical Education, Laksamana College of Business, Cosmopolitan College of Commerce Technology, Kolej International Graduate Studies and Politeknik Brunei. Each seat is worth $100 each for the two-day event.
Some of the beneficiaries represented by Mahakarya Institute, Cosmopolitan College of Commerce Technology and Laksamana College of Business
The attendees during the press conference
YEAB’s president receiving a certificate from Progresif
Takaful is sponsoring students from UBD to attend the YEC
Jerudong International School is one of the partners for the conference
Chief Executive Officer of Baiduri Bank Ti Eng Hui said, “Baiduri Bank is a great believer in investing in youth, who are leaders of tomorrow. Events such as the Youth Empowerment Conference connect them to international speakers, entrepreneurs and youth leaders.
“It helps them to build a network, increase their global awareness and prepare them for opportunities beyond Brunei through the use of technologies.”
Chief Marketing Officer of Progresif Devin Edwards said, “Support of the Youth Empowerment Conference is part of our Progresif Minds initiative.
“Progresif Minds is a platform that will serve to contribute meaningfully to society by working with thought leaders, captains of industry and change makers in Brunei and beyond,” he added.
“We believe that a progressive mind is a curious one and we aim to feed that curiosity with creative, innovative and inspirational experiences which expand knowledge and help unlock Brunei’s potential.”
Shaun Hoon confirmed that early promotion of the event has already seen the reservation of 500 of the 700 available seats from high schools and higher institutions across Brunei including members of I-Usahawan and i-Ready Apprentinceship programme confirmed to participate at the conference.
It was also shared that complete details about the Youth Empowerment Conference and registration will be available soon at www.progresifminds.com.
Representatives from Chung Hwa Middle School (BSB)
Representatives from VitaWorld, Gong Cha and Yippy Tune
Representatives from Excapade Sushi, Fitness Zone and Luxe Development
Representatives from Sarawak Tourism Board, Tourism Malaysia Brunei Darussalam, SMK Agama Miri and Pan Bright Travel at the starting line of the Miri International Back2School Run last weekend
Representatives of Pan Bright Travel supporting the run
Pan Bright Travel Service co-organised the Miri International Back2School Run with the SMK Agama Miri which took place at the said school last weekend. The event is part of the “Lakas Tah ke Miri promotion” in conjunction with Malaysia Mega Sales Carnival National Sales Campaign & Visit Sarawak Campaign 2019 in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia Brunei Darussalam and supported by Sarawak Tourism Board.
This is the second run organized by Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Miri and this is the first time SMK Agama Miri collaborated with Pan Bright Travel Service to cater for the residents of Brunei Darussalam. There were three categories overall – 5KM run, 11KM Men’s and Women’s Open and the Mountain Biking Jamboree 44KM Open & Veteran. The event attracted more than 140 participants from Brunei from the 1,3000 participants of the run.
The Lakas Tau Ke Miri promotion is still ongoing until the 31st July 2019 where for every purchase of BND 800 worth of travel products from Pan Bright in a single receipt, you are entitled to a rebate special from as low as BND 35 at Meritz Hotel or BND 75 at Miri Marriot per room per night. There are also special room deals from Meritz Hotel (BND 59) and Miri Marriot (BND 99) which includes breakfast for two.
I can understand why Mertiz Hotel is very popular among Bruneians because of the convenience of shopping at Bintang Mall (Ever Rise supermarket, H&M, Uniqlo and many more). My recent stay saw many Bruneians parked their car at the parking lots though the congestion might test your patience. The same can be said for Miri Marriot where Brunei families and expats would pamper their kids and children at the massive swimming pool and it’s also located a bit further from the busyness of Miri.
For more enquiries about the promotion, do contact Pan Bright Travel offices at 224 0980 (Bandar) or 334 1154 (Kuala Belait). You can also their Facebook or instagram @panbrighttravel for updates.
My room at Meritz Hotel during the Lakas Tah ke Miri Promotion
John Teo, General Manager of Meritz Hotel with representatives from Tourism Malaysia Brunei and Pan Bright Travel
Our hotel inspection at Miri Marriot
The sizable pool that caught the eyes of Bruneians
Miri Marriot also offer spa services for singles and couples
International Buffet on weekends only at Miri Marriot
Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Ali bin Hj Apong addressed a key note speech during the launch of the Culinary School at Laksamana College of Business recently
I liked what the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Ali bin Hj Apong said during his remarks on the launch of the Culinary School at Laksamana College of Business. He said that Brunei need more chefs rather than cooks because chefs can create impact both locally and internationally. I would totally agree on that as being a chef is an entirely different ball game.
I was honoured to witness the official launch of the new Culinary School at Laksamana College of Business and the set up itself was pretty up to standard I must admit. The culinary school has a proper kitchen (see thru concept), preparation area, study area and of course, the dining area to serve the customers.
I could see that LCB has put their sweat and efforts in making the culinary school possible and finally it was officially launched. Being the syllabus coming from City & Guilds, do expect a reputable learning experience for the culinary students guided and facilitated by highly qualified chefs.
I also could see the passion and dedication from the front line (waiters and waitresses), the preparation crew team and the cooking team. They just started the course a few weeks ago and the launch event was their biggest task to date where they served a three course meal to the invited guests at the dining area of the Culinary School.
I was quite pleased to see such establishment and course made available in Brunei and furthermore, with the guidance of the reputable chefs, the students will be able upgrade themselves in the world of culinary.
The Culinary School, one of the first private culinary schools set up in Brunei Darussalam, offers students two City & Guilds culinary programmes: the Level 1 Certificate in Food Preparation and Cooking and Level 2 Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking.
The Level 1 Certificate covers all the main elements of food preparation, while the Level 2 Diploma builds on the Level 1 Certificate course.
For more details, you can visit Laksamana College of Business website.
Officiating the launch of the Culinary School by the Minister
The Minister touring the dry kitchen area
The Minister viewing the kitchen area where the food were being cooked and prepared
The dining area
One of the students from the Culinary School preparing the entree for the guests
Another student busy preparing the entree
I love this dish the most. Good texture too.
The finishing touch for the sago
Founder of Mahakarya Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Hajah Nurul Amal Munjiatul Athirah binti Pengiran Sura Negara Pengiran Anak Haji Muhammad Bey Muntassir in a group photo with Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the MPRT Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, Charge D’Affaires from the Philippines Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Consul Pete Raymond V Delfin, Brunei’s first international female director Siti Kamaluddin, Kita-Kita film director Sigrid Bernardo, member of Filipino Film Critic Dr Roland Tolentino
A memento from the Embassy of the Philippines to Sit Kamaluddin
I’m such a movie fan!! Yesterday, I caught three movies and two of them are Filipino movies – Sonata and Kita-Kita, made possible by Mahakarya Institute of Arts and the Philippines Embassy in Brunei Darussalam. Ok, the other movie was Bumblebee but I shall focus on the Filipino movies since it’s the Brunei Film Blitz season. This is coming to the second week of @bruneifilmblitz and it has simply been amazing from the beginning.
Yesterday was the showcase of Filipino movies at Film Blitz. The audience had the privilege to watch three movies produced from the Philippines – Kakabakaba Ka Ba?, Sonata and Kita-Kita. My favourite was Kita-Kita though I have not caught Kakabakaba Ka Ba?
Yesterday the Embassy of the Philippines in Brunei Darussalam marked the 100 years of Philippine cinema in conjunction with the second edition of the Brunei Film Blitz 2018.
Attending the event were Founder of Mahakayra Institute of Arts, Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Hajah Nurul Amal Munjiatul Athirah binti Pengiran Sura Negara Pengiran Anak Haji Muhammad Bey Muntassir, , Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, Charge D’Affaires from the Philippines Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Consul Pete Raymond V Delfin, Brunei’s first international female director Siti Kamaluddin, Kita-Kita film director Sigrid Bernardo, member of Filipino Film Critic Dr Roland Tolentino and Entertainment Editor of the Philippine Daily Enquirer Rito Asilo.
According to Consul Pete Raymond, the Philippine movie industry is one of the most influential phenomena in the Philippines as it provides not just commercial value but also employment and milestones.
It was nice to see the director of Kita-Kita Sigrid Bernado in Brunei who will also helped with the masterclasses as part of the Film Blitz workshop. She will share bits and pieces of her independent movie that became a multimillion box office success and talk on her special director’s cut of Kita-Kita and why she had two versions of Kita-Kita, where the other was a commercial release.
For more information for the scheduling of the workshops and power up classes, you can click here for bookings. Each of the workshop costs BND 20 and you will learn things such as Director DNA, Talking Pictures, Sonic Cinemascapes, Filming on a Budget, Directing Actors for the Screen and lastly, the 96 Hour Film Blitz Survival Class.
Sigrid Bernardo the director and Maria the film editor of Kita-Kita
Introducing the cast of The Corny Collins Show
Audience members were dazzled as they were transported into the 60s during the matinee show of “The Corny Collins Show” (based on “Hairspray”). The show took place on Sunday, 9th of December at Dewan Auditorium, Bangunan Tambahan, Jabatan Penerangan, Airport Lama. The production was part of Brunei December Festival, with the support of the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism.
“The Corny Collins Show” was also supported by Jabatan Penerangan, Jabatan Perdana Menteri; D’Music Motion Fitness Studios, CfBT Education Services, Lailatul Shazana’s Production House and Selera Alam.
The production was the ninth production by Seeds Brunei following, Seuss!’ is based on the world of Dr. Seuss, “SEEDS Wicked Witch”, “SEEDS’ Willy Wonka”, “Into The Woods” and “Oliver! The Musical”. Seeds Brunei is recognised as an educational society led by volunteers with the support of the department of schools, Ministry of Education and uses theatre and other creative activities as an educational tool for students in secondary schools and higher institutions.
“The Corny Collins Show” tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart in the 60’s who is on a mission to follow her dreams. You can’t stop the beat as she sets out to dance her way onto national TV with the nicest kids in town. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she will be using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heart-throb Link Larkin along the way!
Over 70 students and graduate youths were involved in the production from stage managing, costume and prop designing as well as in lighting, music and sound. Teachers from various schools, local talents and volunteers were also involved with the production.
The performance was a year-long process by Seeds Brunei in a series of workshops which emphasises the holistic acquisition of all dramatic skills, from cast to stage direction and costuming. In March 2018, Seeds held #Seeds9Refresh hosted by Sekolah Menengah Katok registration. Various workshops at Sekolah Menengah Menglait Gadong in April and cast auditions at iCentre in May.
Seeds9 Mini-Showcase at Dewan Setia Pahlawan MPRT (Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism was held in July 2018. This event was a preview and work-in-progress for what’s to come later this year. The final workshop in September 2018, Theatre Bootcamp, was held over the course of two days at Pusat Tingkatan Enam Sengkurong.
The final two shows will be held on the Monday, 10th December at 7pm and Tuesday, 11th December at 7pm. Tickets are $15 each. You can also check out their Facebook Page for updates
Some of the cast of The Corny Collins Show
At the Auditorium Hall at Info Department
Guests strolling in for the show yesterday
For those who’s not sure where the Info Department is
The Brunei Film Blitz is back with bigger and better opportunities for film enthusiasts in Brunei Darussalam. This year, the Brunei Film Blitz is hosting various events including Mark Shepherd Masterclasses, Power Up Workshops and Level Up International Screenings. All these are designed to support the local film culture and explore national identity through film.
This Sunday, 9th December 2018, the Brunei Film Blitz kicks off with a retrospective screening from the legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa at Mahakarya, Level 3 Plaza Athirah.
The three films being screened are: Hidden Fortress 1958 (12:00pm), Yojimbo 1961 (3:00pm) and High and Low 1963 (7:30pm). A KINO Close Up: Akira Kurosawa Influences and Influencer will be held at 5:30pm consisting of a presentation discussing the cinematic relevance of Akira Kurosawa.
Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese film director and screenwriter, who directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years. He is regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema.
As the first Asian filmmaker to achieve international prominence, Kurosawa has naturally served as an inspiration for many notable Hollywood directors today. Oscar winning film director Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Pacific Rim) referred to Kurosawa “one of the essential masters”, citing Throne of Blood, High and Low and Ran as among his favorite films. Similarly, A-list film producer J.J. Abrams says he drew from Kurosawa while producing Star Wars: the Force Awakens.
In 1990, he accepted the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Posthumously, he was named “Asian of the Century” in the “Arts, Literature, and Culture” category by AsianWeek magazine and CNN, cited there as being among the five people who most prominently contributed to the improvement of Asia in the 20th century. His career has been honored by many retrospectives, critical studies and biographies in both print and video, and by releases in many consumer media formats.
On Sunday, a retrospective will be held as part of the Brunei Film Blitz from 12 Noon. Reserve your seats today by logging into www.bruneifilmblitz.org or contact us on +673 8188777.
Synopsis for Brunei Film Blitz Kurosawa Screening
Title : Hidden Fortress (1958, Japan, Akira Kurosawa). George Lucas’ Star Wars (1977) is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining films ever made, a global phenomenon that shaped and defined modern Hollywood. But not many people realise that it was profoundly influenced by this classic samurai film. Not only are the two stories remarkably similar – with the assistance of two bickering peasants (robots), a samurai (Jedi knight) escorts a princess with hidden treasure (secret plans) through a landscape dominated by enemy forces and a powerful secret fortress (space station) – but Lucas also borrowed certain stylistic devices from Kurosawa’s classic! Once again, the great Toshiro Mifune delivers a masterful central performance and Akira Kurosawa directs with his usual consummate skill in this action classic. To be played at 12pm at Mahakarya, Level 3 Plaza Athirah.
Hidden Fortress (1958, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
Title : Yojimbo (1961, Japan, Akira Kurosawa). A dishevelled ronin (masterless samurai) arrives in a run-down rural village dominated by two rival gangs and pits one against the other, setting them on a course of mutual self-destruction. This classic samurai film was later remade as an Italian Western (For a Fistful of Dollars, 1964, with Clint Eastwood) and an American gangster film (Last Man Standing, 1996, with Bruce Willis), demonstrating that in the end, it is both a universal story and a brilliant action film. With a superb and unconventional central performance by the great Toshiro Mifune, audacious widescreen compositions and an unexpected mix of violence and dark humour, this is one of the most memorable and influential Japanese films ever made. To be played at 3pm at Mahakarya, Level 3 Plaza Athirah.
Yojimbo (1961, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)
Title : KINO Close Up: Akira Kurosawa influences and influencer This presentation discusses the cinematic relevance of Akira Kurosawa. Open to all ages and film experience/interest levels. 5pm at Mahakarya, Level 3 Plaza Athirah.
Title : High and Low (1963, Japan, Akira Kurosawa). Although Kurosawa is best known for his period piece samurai films, he also directed just as many films set in contemporary Japan. This is one of the best: an incredibly tense crime thriller about a rich businessman held to ransom when his chauffeur’s son is kidnapped by mistake, which, in its second half, unexpectedly morphs into a powerful drama about social injustice. This, then, is both a brilliant, stylistically audacious genre film and a brave and complex piece of social filmmaking with a strong moral message. It is all held together by Kurosawa’s usual deep respect for humanity and sense of justice – perfectly embodied by Toshiro Mifune’s riveting central performance. Another undoubted classic of world cinema. To be played at 7pm at Mahakarya, Level 3 Plaza Athirah.
High and Low (1963, Japan, Akira Kurosawa)