Yesterday Concepts Technologies organised a Distributor Bootcamp for the resellers in Brunei, with the theme to empower the partners to be more efficient in dealing with cloud. I’ve learnt something new along the way and it’s Microsoft Azure – which can be a “Platform as a Service” (Paas) or even “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS). The bootcamp also introduced new licensing updates on Windows Server 2016 and System Centre 2016.
The event took place at the Brilliance Hall at Concepts Computer and Afif Mohamed Ali, Country Manager of Microsoft Brunei gave his welcoming remarks to the audience to kick start the event. He took over Haniza Zakariya since August 2016 as the Country Manager of Microsoft Brunei.
Concepts Technologies emphasized that Microsoft Azure is a growing collection of integrated cloud services where developers and IT professionals build, deploy and manage applications through our global network of data centres.
Now it’s a different story. With Microsoft Azure, you can be anywhere you want., using the tools, applications, and even frameworks of your choice. It’s more like an open source technology. It’s also an ideal place for hosting and website creation. So for those who are creating websites for the end users, Microsoft Azure would be a good choice.
As a Microsoft distributor in Brunei, Concepts Technologies is paving way on the challenging their partners and resellers to invest in the open source technology, data or apps and extend it to the cloud. You will enjoy seamless hybrid cloud capabilities in Azure span infrastructure, data, user identity, apps and management.
The event is in collaboration with Microsoft Brunei and they aim to keep the momentum of conducting events like this and nurture the growth of technology in Brunei.
Representative from Concepts Technologies conducting the workshop on Microsoft Azure and licensing
The partners and resellers during the Distributor Bootcamp at Brilliance Hall, Concepts Computer
It’s contest season once again for the Brunei toastmasters and I’m excited because of the line up itself. To me, this is the real deal.. The Wrestlemania of speech contest for Brunei.
There are four participating clubs are Brunei Speakers’ Club (the mother club), OTTERS Club (Seria), Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club and UBD Toastmasters Club (UBD). Recently the three clubs held their respective club contests to determine the top two winners to represent their respective clubs.
The sole winner of Area K6 contest will then represent Brunei in the next round which will be held in Kota Kinabalu, sometime in April 2017.
Last year, the champions were Pranika Lama for International Speech and Julius Hong for Tables Topic Contest. This year, Pranika, chose not to compete while Julius is still in the running to retain the Area K6 title.
UBD contestants were dominant in last year’s contest. So let’s see we will have another representative from UBD or will we have new faces in this upcoming contest.
The Area K6 Contest will take place this Sunday, 26th April at 1:30pm at iCentre. All the best to all the contestants. I missed the cut again this time round but there’s always be a next time.
You can follow @ubd_toastmastersclub @bruneispeakersclub @otterstmc on their IG for updates.
The top 3 winners of the International Speech at UBD Toastmasters Contest. Nabil Abdul Kadir, the champion and Theressa Chong, the runner up, advanced to the Area K6 contest this Sunday.
This was the contest at the Brunei Speakers’ Club. Congratulations to all the winners and the top two will proceed to Area K6 contest
Let’s not forget the winners of OTTERS contest a few weeks ago. All of them will be contesting and vie for the champion of Area K6.
Theressa Chong. Kind and caring, Theressa is a nursing student at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. A spicy food aficionado and a deft badminton player, she is always full of energy. She will be directing that energy in her first Area contest with her speech entitled “Insecurities”.
Allen Ang. The cute and charismatic Allen is the reigning Toastmasters District 87 Humorous Speech Champion. His speech “Take That Shot” for the Area contest is a detour from (or a means to achieve) his true mission – the Father/Husband of the Year award. Will this be his shot for the title? We shall see.
Nabil Abdul Kadir. The golden voice Nabil surprised many with his inspirational speech. He’s currently a a student of Health Sciences at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. A keen learner, he has been learning basic Mandarin on his own. We wonder if he’ll use his newfound knowledge in his speech entitled “Look At The Bright Side”.
Amran Jamaluddin. He’s been known as the Superman of Brunei toastmasters and he currently works at Butra Heidelberg Cement. He shows that an expert crane operator when seated in front of a computer can create wonders with words, with his speech entitled “The Making Of…”
Beauty and The Beast stealing the show as thousands flocked in the catch the over-hyped film. Yes, it came to that stage for a certain reason
It has been a while since I actually do a review on my blog on my movie updates and reviews. I’m still over the moon with La La Land, a movie I caught four times (3 in the cinema, 1 in Royal Brunei in-flight entertainment). This would be technically my first movie review of the year in my blog and god knows why it has to Beauty and The Beast.
Perhaps, the reason being that Beauty and The Beast has been gaining many tractions in Brunei and our neighbouring country Malaysia. Now we know how it felt when Deadpool was banned and not in Malaysia. Speaking of Deadpool, I still don’t get it why it was banned in the first place when John Wick movie (shown in February) had more extreme violent content as compared to the R-rated superhero movie.
Anyway, back to Beauty and The Beast, I quite enjoy the live-action remake to an extent. I had my expectations slightly lower because it’s never easy to pull off an already impressive animation of Beauty and The Beast.
Here are the pluses: Emma Watson shines in patches of the 2 hour film. She can pull off the looks of Belle and she’s already an icon in the Hollywood scene. The musical were impressive from start to finish. It does relive the moments of when I was a teenager. This is the perhaps the strength of the latest Disney movie.
The producer also gave much respect to the original story with some additional plot which are unnecessary. Having said that, they did, however, include elements that fill in the gaps which explained certain scenes in the original Beauty and The Beast animation. That was a nice touch and gives more closure to the audience.
The visuals were stunning, a forte expected from Disney. I love how the other supporting casts made it more memorable and not relying too much on the main characters. I was touched by the final act and it was more of a saviour than anything else. A great effort by Bill Condon the director.
We all had fun catching Beauty and The Beast yesterday. An average verdict of 7.5 from all of us. Angela loved it that she danced after the show.
What I thought was lacking: Don’t get me wrong. I’m still impressed with the Beast character but I couldn’t feel the chemistry between Belle and her boyfriend *eseeh* I just feel that something’s amiss but I don’t know what it is. Maybe Emma didn’t use to her great potential or maybe she’s not right for the role. Either one but man, she’s still a hottie (biased).
They were some pacing issues but not a big deal. I did nap for a bit in the middle. Yes, I was tired and didn’t have enough sleep. Then again, it was an after lunch movie.
Luke Evans as Gaston was good but not as great as the one in the animation. Again, I can’t help it but compare because I really love the classic animation. Oh yeah, Emma Watson is an okay singer and I wish Bill Condon would have casted a more eloquent singer with commendable acting skills. There are a few from the defunct Glee TV series that you can refer to. Okay, I wasn’t being serious but yea, Emma may have the looks but lacks in the vocal department.
Overall, I still adore the live action remake. It’s entertaining from start to finish. The casts could have done more justice but the musical scenes were the saviour to my liking. Yes, the original had a more emotional impact and I believe a few of my friends shared the same sentiments.
The scores on Rotten Tomatoes weren’t that high as compared to Cinderella (83%). The original animation of Beauty and The Beast scored a high 93%.
Amazing opening weekend for Beauty and the Beast. It even beat Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opening weekend. This movie is bound to make a few hundred millions and even break the billion mark worldwide.
Mark Phipps, International School Brunei’s (ISB) Director of Sport, Yasmin Abdullah, Business Development Manager, Corporate Services of Royal Brunei Recreation Club, Her Excellency Nicola Rosenblum, Ken Han, Brunei Country Manager of Sports Camp Australia and Jaz Taha, Operational Manager of Fitness Zone during the press conference for OzSports Festival
Loving the post card 😀
This is something of interest especially to parents as they can bring their children to see what kind of sports or activities they might be interested in. Sometimes we need to go to grass root levels to see what they would enjoy. CHILDREN aged five to 12 are invited to join a fun-filled sports activities day on March 26 from 8-12 noon at Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien in the OzSports Festival event, organised by the Australian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam. This is also made possible with the collaboration of Sports Camp Australia and other participating vendors.
This event will be held at Bandar Ceria on Sunday, 26th March from 8am to 12pm and this is also the first of its kind Australia themed sports.
This was announced during the press conference hosted by the Australian High Commission and chaired by the High Commissioner, Nicola Rosenblum earlier this week. The event will be called The OzSports Festival.
It was good to see my friend, Ken Han, who was appointed as Brunei Country Manager of Sports Camp Australia. Also present were representatives from the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, ISB, Royal Brunei Recreation Club and Fitness Zone.
As Her Excellency Nicola mentioned during the press conference, “Sport is an integral part of Australian culture. Whether it’s a game of backyard cricket with family, cheering a local team or striving for victory at the elite level – sport is a part of every Australia’s life. This is why the Australian High Commission is pleased to be working with Sports Camps Australia (SCA) to organise the OzSports Festival.”
There will be 10 different sports at Taman SOAS ranging from football to netball to frisbee to bike riding and many more. For parents’ knowledge, the event OzSports Festival will be free of charge. There will be participating vendors such as Hybrid Movement (cross fit), Shooting Stars (Basketball), Brunei Dodgeball Association and many more.
I hope this event will be a success and I’m happy that such event is taking place. This will be a good spring board for the young ones. Ken Han is a good addition to this event as he is quite passionate in creating camps for younger kids under the flagship of Shooting Stars. Being involved in Sports Camp Australia in Brunei, there will be different levels ranging from development camps to competitive ones. Good luck on that, bro.
Hope to see you at the OzSports Festival next weekend 😀 And to Nicola, it was nice to have finally met you even though it was pretty brief.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (3rd from left) also in attendance
Yasmin Abdullah speaking during the press conference
Ken Han, who is the founder of Shooting Stars, is also Brunei Country Manager for Sports Camp Australia (centre)
Ak Fauzi and Chun Leong, former The Brunei Times’ sports reporters, are now running brusports.com and it’s good to see them venturing into this business
Representatives from Hybrid Movement
See you on the 26th March
With the guest of honour from the Ministry of Education and the graduates of Youth Leadership Program. Also in the picture were the management of Sports School and members of UBD Toastmasters Club
The happy faces of the graduates. We really gonna miss them
I witnessed something amazing and rewarding last night. It was the graduation of the Youth Leadership Program facilitated by Pranika Lama who chose Sports School to conduct the seven session workshop to 20 students of Sports School. The module is part of the Toastmasters program and more of an outreach program consisting of one to two hour sessions that will enable participants to develop communication and leadership skills through practical experience.
The 20 students were pre-selected by the teachers at Sports School and in this program, they were taught to
• Evaluate present speaking ability
• Organize and give speeches
• Give impromptu talks
• Control voice, vocabulary and gestures
• Give constructive feedback and more
So it was good to see students improving gradually in a space of seven weeks (the program started in February). I remembered that a few of them couldn’t say blurted out a few words or sentences but it was a different story as the weeks progressed. I’m just simply amazed by their growth and I believe this will have a positive impact in their education and also in their lives.
I also noticed how authentic and vulnerable the young students are and they are just no different from us too. Most of them showed their affection towards their families and this is something not are taught in schools especially in high school. This is something I’m happy that Toastmasters International can provide to the youth.
Last night was the graduation ceremony and I was close to tears, witnessing the growth on each of the participants. Parents and teachers were in attendance and they were pretty impressed with what they saw last night too.
A big shout out to Pranika Lama and her team from UBD toastmasters and not forgetting Rozana Yunos the advisor for the YLP. Some of the students craved for more sessions on the second intake of YLP which will happened pretty soon. However, the next batch will be a newer intake of students.
The late Shawn Cassidy Narcis will be proud of this achievement made possible by Pranika Lama and Sports School as they will help elevate the status of toastmasters in Brunei Darussalam.
Congratulations to all the graduates of the YLP and you have certainly made us proud. Keep on going!!!
The elected President of YLP Intake 1 – Syafiq bin Hj Ismail
Explaining the timer role by Md Amir Azri
The table topics session facilitated by Alanise Danishsya
The audience in attendance
Mohd Aniq Iskandar attempting table topics as he preferred a motorbike
He wants to be a famous football player and also a pilot
She shared about regrets
Congratulations Pranika Lama. I am proud!!
The final session before graduation as he shared about the different types of “miss”
This was taken in February, the third session of YLP
The students were already glowing by the third session
Anderson Lim, Managing Director of Nimanja Enterprise, giving a token of appreciation to His Excellency Craig Allen, the U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam during the launch of Nimanja.com
His Excellency apparently had browsed their website prior to the launch. How thoughtful of him 🙂
Congratulations to Nimanja, the latest online store for pet products and food. It’s something different that we don’t see everyday in Brunei. We have seen Foodpanda in terms of food delivery. We have seen how QQestore became a phenomenon overtime. Another active online base business is Social Deal. So it’s good to see another one emerging in a different field. I’m pretty sure there is a demand for pet food and being able to order online and being delivered to your doorstep is something of a convenience for pet owners.
The launch of Nimanja.com took place at Radisson Hotel. The guest of honour was His Excellency Craig Allen, the U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam. Also present were Anderson Lim, Managing Director of Nimanja Enterprise, and his family and regular customers of their products.
His Excellency Craig Allen was of full praises towards Anderson’s initiative and his entrepreneurial spirit. He hope this will inspire more entrepreneurs to take the risk in pursuing their business aspiration.
Congratulations once again to Anderson Lim on the Nimanja.com and it’s never too late or too early to venture into a business. Mind you, Anderson is only 21 years old and he will be graduating from the US this year. We shall meet again in the near future.
Anderson, a former Olympian for Brunei, now aspires to be an entrepreneur
Wafi Diah. Supply Chain Associates of Nimanja Enterprise, delivering a product presentation
See Chung Ting of SnapFeed is also collaborating with Nimanja
The guest of honour with the family behind Nimanja
More than 3,000 products are available on the website
Yang Amat Mulia Hjh Siti Radhiah Binti Pengiran Maharaja Lela Sahibul Kahar Pengiran Anak Hj Md Yusof at the Peek-a-Box booth
Guest of honour at @baitalhijaab
The Modest Fashion Network happened last weekend at The Empire Hotel & Country Club and it was organised by Maszalina Events. Launching the event was the guest of honour, Yang Amat Mulia Hjh Siti Radhiah Binti Pengiran Maharaja Lela Sahibul Kahar Pengiran Anak Hj Md Yusof.
There were vendors such as MODVIER, Peek-a-Box, Bajoo, Naforrer and many more that were involved during the 3 day event. There was also the OOTD search winner organised by @ootdbrunei which took place on the final day of the event. @ootdbrunei also launched their brand as one of the highlights of the show. Congratulations.
Jovian Mandagie was in town and he was invited as the chief judge in Modest Fashion Network search winner (for the vendors). The winner was @baitalhijaab who won a sponsorship worth more than BND 15,000 at the Asia Islamic Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur.
The winner of the BND 15,000 sponsorship to Asia Islamic Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur – @baitalhijaab
The launch of the @ootdbrunei brand
Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman, Permanent Secretary (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance led the briefing at Tutong yesterday
eidi Farah Sia binti Abdul Rahman, Acting Assistant Director at the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE) advised the public to play a part to complain if there’s abuse of prices at supermarkets
Education is the most important in creating more awareness for the upcoming Import and Excise Duties that will be imposed by 1st April 2017. Apparently the previous taxation act on products have remained unchanged since 2006. So this is something new for the residents of Brunei Darussalam to be aware of and awareness campaign is one of the tools to get the message across.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) have been busy making their rounds in different districts in creating more awareness of the new import and excise duties. Today was their final roadshow which was held in Temburong. I was fortunate enough to visit their roadshow in Tutong.
Present during the briefing was Ahmaddin bin Haji Abdul Rahman, Permanent Secretary (Performance) at the Ministry of Finance; Mu’inuddin Chin Bin Mohammad Abdur Rahman, Acting Controller of Customs and Excise, Heidi Farah Sia binti Abdul Rahman, Acting Assistant Director at the Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE); Haji Zakaria bin Haji Kamis from the Health Promotion Centre at the Ministry of Health (MoH), and Abdul Khaliq bin Haji Lokman from the Department of Environment, Park and Recreation.
This is a great start among the relevant agencies to get the word out before it creates confusion among the public.
The interesting will be sugared drinks especially soft drinks. Apparently not all soft drinks or fizzy drinks will be affected by the new tax system. It can get quite technical. For instance, it was mentioned that drinks with high sugar content of six grammes per 100 ml and above will be taxed at $4 per deca litre starting April 1. This means that a can of soft drink will cost 13 cents more. If the sugar content is below six grammes per 100 ml, no tax will be imposed.
Isotonic drinks will not fall in these categories as the sugar content is lower than six grammes per 100 ml. Milo drinks will be affected if I’m not mistaken. I’m still not sure about drinks such as Coke, Pepsi, Fanta and so on. I shall be making my rounds, asking those working in JPKE, to confirm on certain drinks that will be taxed.
Another item that I was thinking of was Maggi.. Yes, my all time favourite comfort food. Well, why I brought it up is because Maggi contains MSG which stands for Monosodium Glutamate. So would this mean Maggi prices will go up if the rules apply for MSG related products which are taxed at 30%. All these are to be confirmed pretty soon and I will share the data once everything is concrete.
Haji Zakaria bin Haji Kamis from the Health Promotion Centre at the Ministry of Health (MoH) sharing the dangers of sugar intake especially from the kids
The statistics don’t look favourable indeed
Ali Bin Hj Awg Matussin, Assistant Director of Land Transport Department, Ministry of Communications, speaking of the dangers of rethreading and used tyres. Apparently new tyres will enjoy a reduction from 20% to 5% on excise duties. Cool. The excise duties for reused tyres will remain at 15%.
During the briefing, the Permanent Secretary said the objectives of the amendments to the customs import and excise duties are to streamline the tax structure in the country which will be able to support key objectives such as to enhance the competitiveness of business and investment climate in the country as well as to fulfil certain commitments under the free trade agreements (FTAs) with several countries either on a bilateral or multi-lateral basis.
The restructuring of the import and excise duties also focuses on specific products with the purpose of meeting certain objectives such as reducing the cost of living for specific groups, bringing down the prices of certain goods to encourage their usage and at the same time controlling the use of certain products to improve the health and well-being of citizens and residents in the country, he added.
In a way, these are great initiatives from the Brunei Government and it will definitely improve the lifestyle, more like the healthy lifestyle of Bruneians around. I’m still alarmed that Brunei has an issue with obesity and over-weights among teenagers. Let’s hope with the new imposed duties, we will be able educate parents and adults on the danger of sugar related products in drinks and anything consumable that may be dangerous for teenagers in a long run.
I shall be blogging more on the particular products that will be affected by the new custom tax structure. Do see this as a positive note as this is also vital to the growth of the local economy and increasing the government revenue rather than relying on oil and gas for revenue.
The attendance yesterday at Tutong
The brochure giving info for the new custom and excise duties
Now will maggi fall in this category?
Maggi won’t be as cheap anymore if maggi will be taxed
The roadshow in Temburong earleir today (Wednesday)
The team that has been quite busy making their rounds at different districts to increase awareness on the new tax structure. Keep up the great work!!
Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah binti Pengiran Haji Salleh Ab Rahaman stressed on ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for the present and the next generation, added that the next generation is the next best hope in securing a favourable future on this planet.
Her Royal Highness in her sabda at the opening ceremony of the 13th International School Brunei (ISB) Borneo Global Issues Conference (BGIC) at the International Convention Centre (ICC), said to realise the full potential of the next generation, we need to invest in them.
“We need to further increase their awareness of the problems the world will face and equip them with the tools to solve them. We need to constantly build up their capacity. Education is more than what we receive in a classroom. Events like the BGIC refine the other important life skills that include communication, persuasion, negotiation, networking and character development,” Her Royal Highness said.
“In particular, I hope that the students’ active participation in the format of a model United Nations conference can allow them to take the perspective of world leaders and inculcate in themselves a strong understanding of how debate, negotiation, protocol, mutual understanding and compromise can slowly but surely advance the causes that they care about,” she added.
“We need to give today’s youths more platforms like BGIC to let them act according to their conscience and sense of responsibility,” Her Royal Highness added.
It can be a catastrophe if the objectives of ending global poverty and inequality are not met. Her Royal Highness also touched on climate change that has impacted public health, the environment, food and water security, migration, peace and security.
Her Royal Highness reminded us the quote by the former UN Secretary-General famously stated, “There is no Plan B, because there is no planet B.”
I can’t believe this is the 13th edition of the BGIC. I used to be involved as a social media partner in helping creating awareness of what happens during BGIC and I have to salute the team and organiser behind the BGIC project. It’s never an easy feat to pull off a huge event and kudos to all of them.
The ISB Borneo Global Issue Conference (ISB BGIC) is an annual student led model UN conference where participants represent various countries, addressing their views on current and real world issues among their peers. The conference is an initiative aimed at the expansion of students’ understanding of global citizenship and improving public speaking and negotiation skills. The four day event came to a close yesterday at International Convention Centre.
It also good to see the involvement of different local schools in this project. Over 150 students from 21 schools were involved and this is a great platform for them to learn to negotiate and create resolutions between one another.
BGIC also had three keynote speakers – Kenny Peavy, Dr (Hon) Wong Siew Te and Karan Jerath.
Click image to enlarge
I’m happy that I finally visited the Garmin store in Kiulap and got myself the Garmin Vivoactive HR
Many interesting features to like about on the Garmin Vivoactive HR
Garmin Vivoactive HR. Most of my friends would know that I’m not a watch person. I stopped wearing watches for quite some time as I’m don’t feel that comfortable wearing them. Then I started to be interested in wearing one as I was an active jogger and needed some thing to time my pace while I ran. So Garmin was the best bet for me. I burnt a big hole in my pocket as I went for the cream of the crop Garmin line. This was back in 2012 when I was quite active in jogging then. However, it didn’t take me that long to shelve my Garmin watch when I lost my desire to jog.
Fast forward to 2017, I found a new love for Garmin especially the Vivoactive HR model. So many things that I love about it. First of all, it’s light and it’s not as heavy as my previous Garmin watch (can’t really remember the model number).
The Vivoactive HR in some ways made me more efficient or even more active in my daily steps. I have yet to try other functions as I was more into checking my heart rate and most of all my steps. This is for me is the best model Garmin that will suit my every day usage. I tend to walk more and do sports such as tennis and badminton. Of course, I will cover more steps whenever I play badminton or tennis and these numbers will be show a significant increase on the Vivoactive HR.
It also tells you the floors you climb which is pretty cool. This watch is also a good tool to remind you if you are sitting too long or not doing any activity. It will vibrate vigorously so you get off your butt. So it’s a good reminder for me especially if I sit down too long in front of the computer.
The Heart Rate Monitor on the VIvoactive HR is pretty efficient. Of course, it’s not as accurate as the chest strap but it’s still a good indication for reading the heart beat especially during your exercises.
It also gives notification on the watch if you synced using bluetooth. So I would know who send messages on whatsapp or any social media alerts such as Instagram and Facebook. This is a handy watch indeed and I will be wearing this more than my previous Garmin watch.
With the recent announcement during the Legco Legislative session, watches and its accessories will taxed accordingly and up to 10%. This will definitely affect many watch dealers in Brunei and the reason for this taxation is that watches are considered luxurious items and hence, the Brunei Government see it fit that watches should be taxed accordingly. The previous tax was 5%. It is not known yet if Garmin Store in Brunei will increase their retail price with the new information given. We shall wait and see.
Anyway, the watch is now available at Garmin flagship store at Setia Kenangan II, Kiulap. The Vivoactive HR is my recommendation and the price itself is quite reasonable.
HR Monitor rate can be measured through the Vivoactive HR. Though it’s not as accurate but it’s the next best thing on your wrist
My social media updates popping up on the Vivoactive HR
Using my Garmin to good use during my tennis session yesterday
My steps yesterday and most of them are taken by my tennis workout
Last January, Garmin store was officially open with the presence of His Excellency Craig Allen, U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam
The family and relatives during the opening of Garmin
Do shop at Garmin store in Kiulap
My first Garmin watch that I bought back in 2012