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Oh happy times

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in RA News

Sunday Brunch at Radisson Hotel

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Rich tapestry of cultures at ISB

INTERNATIONAL School Brunei (ISB) promoted cross cultural awareness and fostered close community ties between staff, students and parents during its recent International Day celebrations. This annual event is in line with the school’s mission to encourage students to be caring and tolerant global citizens.

The morning began with a parade of children clad in a vast array of colourful national costumes, representing over forty nationalities in the school community. The parade was led around the school campus by ISB’s racially diverse Hadrah Team, showcasing Brunei Darussalam’s vibrant musical heritage.

Darren Sibley, Primary Principal said, “At ISB, we pride ourselves on ensuring our students feel part of a global community that respects the many different heritages they come from. International Day is one of the main events of the school year where we, as a school community, come together to celebrate the many different cultures and countries that both our students and staff represent.”

“We have had a range of fantastic events today (yesterday) and that I feel very privileged to have been part of this wonderful celebration. I would also like to thank the many people who worked tirelessly to ensure the great success of today’s event,” he continued.

Various cultural activities were held in classrooms and numerous national dishes were sampled during the ‘Taste of Nations’ Food Fair. There were also performances to entertain the audience and celebrate the diversity of the student body, including a traditional Malay dance, Chinese dance, Indian dance, ballet, violin performance and a performance of a sape, an indigenous tribal instrument from Sarawak.

“At ISB, we pride ourselves on developing our students their global citizenship, and the rights and responsibilities that go with this,” Matthew Savage, Secondary Principal said.

“With nearly 40 different nationalities, heritages and cultures represented within the rich tapestry of our student body, we are uniquely placed to do so, and today (yesterday) has been an indescribably positive experience.” Attending the event was HRH Princess Sarah who accompanied her son HRH Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Muntaqim. Text coutesy of Anway Hj Rosly of The Brunei Times.

BSP undergoing a good process

The articles came out in the papers (TBT and BB) and both grabbed the headlines last Saturday. I was invited to attend the Brunei Shell Joint Venture (BSJV) Vendor Forum but I wasn’t able to make it. Most of the findings are taken from Deno’s article in TBT last Saturday and he did an intensive coverage which appeared on the front page.

In the article, The Minister of Energy, Pehin Dato Hj Yasmin the guest of honour during BSJV Vendor Foum, raised some issues about local big companies winning the same tender every time. Hmmm I wonder who.. but he said there are five companies that are monopolising the contracts/tenders from BSP.

The Minister also criticized Brunei Shell’s website for not updating it when it mattered the most (during tender periods). He highlighted the level of penetrations of other potential SMEs is weak due to the existence of big players.

Last year, BSP was under investigation for fraud cases involving 10 senior officials as well as a company that won a contract from BSP. Though that case was last year’s, the Minister hinted that an investigation is being carried out to see the “Supply Chain Management” process.

Another item that Pehin Dato Hj Yasmin raised was the integrity of owners and managers hether or not they have advised staff to deplore any form of corruption and lobbying, and how many have a clear policy of no gift, no entertainment, no golfing holidays, for example, “trips to Eastwood Golf club, or having drinks in Miri pubs or other holidays and entertain the BSJV’s staff to lunch. He asked, “”How many of you have a system in place to prevent corruption, monitor and investigate if there is an allegation?”

Contract info leaks. This is where other companies who are tendering for projects will have first hand knowledge as they are able to access to information of the tender/contract.

No penalty/action? For instance, a company had contractual obligations but when they are not met, no actions were taken on the defaulters.

Integrity. Pehin said it doesn’t feel right that Contract holders and Technically Authority holding the same positions year after year. There are also cases where BSP employees retire and straight away join the contractor in the same area of work.

Energy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin (R) officiating at the BSJV Vendor Forum 2011, themed “Expanding Local Capability”, at The Empire Hotel and Country Club as Ken Marnoch, Managing Director of BSP, looks on. Picture by Rudolf Portillo of The Brunei Times

Brunei Shell Petroleum Managing Director Ken Mornach responded (to @denogoh of @TheBruneiTimes) on the issues highlighted by The Minister but I do feel sorry for him though as most of the damage (highlighted by The Minister) was under the previous leadership of Dr Grahaeme Henderson who was the Managing Director then for many years.

Ken Mornach said that they are currently working “very hard” to increase transparency and address some of the issues raised by the Minister. He highlighted during his speech that “safety and business integrity” are two fundamental principles and they will not compromise on those core values.

BSP has also has committed to ensure that the registration process will be done within a month and that only during any tendering will the assessments be made. BSP said its website with tender information is currently up to date.

He also suggested for a “cooling period” especially for retired employees of BSP who retire as contractors in the same field. This means that they can’t be associated with BSP’s businesses for a few years or so.

So far, BSP is going through a “pretty good process” where they are on a road to “more transparency and more openness”.

I have yet to make acquaintance with Ken Mornach.. In fact, I’ve never really talked to the previous Managing Director. Perhaps, I will have the chance to meet Ken Mornach in person as I’ve covered his event once (BSP UBD Green Debate Finals). Oh, I didn’t know you have a blog though it’s only accessible to BSP Intranet users.

The BSJV Vendor Forum must have been a constructive session and it was also a learning experience for BSP and their vendors and the potential ones. We know for sure BSP is heading to the right direction. Source: Deno Goh of The Brunei Times

Related articles

Zero Tolerance on Corruption. The Brunei Times [here]
Where are the locals? The Brunei Times [here]
Oil players told to toe the line to earn licence to operate. The Brunei Times [here]
Beach Bunch – BSP Kuala Belait Beach Cleanup. Jan Shim here]

Two weeks ago, Ken Marnoch, Managing Director of BSP, witnessed a heated debate between UNISSA and UBD in relating to green issue. He handed a mock cheque to the runner-up UBD in the BSP UBD Green Debate Finals. BSP is also concern of the green issue and hence, the Green Debate is a great platform in educating and creating more awareness

Ken Marnonch was involved in the recent Beach Bunch Clean up at Kuala Belait. In the picture also is Rizan Latif, the President of the Beach Bunch. Ken mentioned during his speech that these activities are part of BSP and BSJV’s contribution to the local community. Click image to see more pictures. Image courtesy of Jan Shim.

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