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Archive for August, 2013


A mellow Raya

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in RA News

Selamat Hari Raya


Selamat Hari Raya to all the readers and fans of RA. Things have been pretty slow as I chose it to be and that’s how I’ve always wanted my Hari Raya celebration to be for the past few years. I have quite a few invitations this weekend and I told myself that I will target maybe 2 each day and spend more time on things I wanna do or simply rest. My friend reminded me of our raya adventure where we will break records after records in raya hopping and I remember my highest number of houses was almost reaching 20 in one day. However, for the past few years, it has been downhill and yes, I have a new record this, for the least number of visited open houses *lol*

So my sincere apology to my friends and families who have invited me but I won’t be showing up due to limited time and I’m already squeezing four houses instead of my initial two for today’s programme. Yesterday I only visited one place and I missed the morning ritual session with my family as I spent most of the morning sleeping in. You can say that I’m just taking my own pace for Hari Raya this year and if I feel like going, then I will. So I hope you will understand and don’t things personally 😀

Anyway, hope you guys have an awesome Raya weekend and it’s a long weekend too. And do buckle up while on the road. Selamat Hari Raya 😀

My first day of Raya at Rozana’s





Raya falls on Friday

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in RA News


Opening hours for Petrol Stations during Raya


Click image to enlarge poster

Movie wrap for the Summer


Ok this is gonna be a massive movie review since I have pending reviews that I haven’t covered on my blog. I’m still contemplating if I should skip R.I.P.D and The Smurts 2 even though I know how bad they typically are (judgding from the trailers I saw) as well as the bad reviews they received from Rottentomatoes, a terrible 12% but at least both movies outscored Grown Ups 2. Then again, the people know what’s best as Grown Ups 2 paid off handsomely in the box office while R.I.P.D and The Smurfs 2 flopped big time in the US box office.

I was recently in Bangkok, Seattle and Singapore and I spent most of my hours catching movies here and there. Perhaps the most movie I was excited among the lot was catching Pacific Rim in IMAX 3D last July at Siam Paragon Cineplex, Bangkok. The most surprising of the lot, in this list of review, is Sharknado.. Yes, Sharknado that took the social media by storm because of its premise about sharks being in tornados… wokkayyy… But I salute the marketing team for making it the most talked about B-grade movie this year.

Ok let’s go in chronological order here in terms of the movies I caught ever since Despicable Me 2.

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger. What happened to Disney? They haven’t been producing feel-good movies and I believe The Lone Ranger is a huge flop in terms of box office revenue. I love Wreck-It Ralph and Monsters University but they also have terrible line ups such as Brave, John Carter, Cars 2 and On Stranger Tides. Now even their new movie Planes is having a tough time pleasing the critics from Rottentomatoes and it’s currently sitting on 30% for Disney’s latest animation flick.

I saw the trailer for The Lone Ranger and I already foresee a huge flop. Johnny Depp playing the warrior Tonto is supposedly not the main lead but because of his status, it had all his name written on it despite Armie Hammer playing th actual Lone Ranger in the movie. The screenplay was woeful to begin with and I kinda felt restless halfway through the movie and to make things worse, it was a 2 and a half hours of torture *lol* The action sequences were OTT (over-the-top) and I don’t find Johnny Depp as hilarious as before. Has he exhausted all his talent and trying so hard to please the audience? The formula failed here and this is a big loss for Disney this year. Verdict: 6/10 Jess Ho 7.5 Rottentomatoes 28%

We caught the IMAX 3D for Pacific Rim

The 3D glasses were huge but effective

Pacific Rim. Holy crap!!! This is one solid movie and I’m loving it from the beginning to the end. I know some of my peers disagree with my rating but I guess it was just not the story and action but the overall experience I had, watching this on IMAX 3D. Seriously… If you have the chance, by all means watch this on IMAX 3D. This movie has style and if you were to compare it with Transformers movies, Pacific Rim win over them easily.

Don’t get me wrong as Pacific Rim does have its flaws here and there and notably it lacked some substance and depth that could have make this movie a classic. But like I said, the experience I had and I love Guillermo del Toro’s direction and style of the movie. You may have been familiar with his past movies Hellboy 1 & 2. I do hope they have a sequel for this. Too bad it didn’t perform that well in the box office. Oh, I also wished they had A-star actors which could have given more credibility to the movie. Michael Bay should take some pointers for the next Transformers movie 😀 Verdict: 8.5/10 Sophia 8.5 Rottentomatoes 71%


Turbo. It came to a point that my eyes and brain became to tired of animation. Maybe because Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 were still fresh in my head then and I would probably have more expectations on animation movies that are released after these two blockbusters (MU and DM2). I was actually entertained by Turbo but the only let down for me is the actual premise where the so-called snail named Turbo wanted to compete in the Grand Prix which was a pretty far-fetched plot if you ask me. This is an animation that will neither bore you nor make you go “wow”. Kids will definitely get the most out of it. For adults, it could be a 50/50 pay off. Verdict: 7/10 Aziimah 7 Rottentomatoes 64%


Trance. I almost caught this in Singapore back in March but I missed out. It’s a Danny Boyle movie and he’s one director I have so much respect for because he’s one of the reasons why I become so fixated to movies. You can tell if it’s a Danny Boyle movie and Trance had his footprints all over it. This movie may require your fullest concentration though. It reminded me when I watched Inception until I watched over and over again to really understood how the process work. So my advice is to take some time off, rent a blu-ray or DVD of Trance and watch it without being distracted with your phone or other distractions.

The movie is about hypnotism and it was nicely executed on how Danny managed to draw the audience’s attention on his artistic approach on hypnosis. The show started off slowly and the pace just picked up halfway and great performance from lead actors James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. Oh by the way, there is a scene or two that might just “awe” you in a split second or in our case, a few good seconds relating to a Dawson scene :p Boyle has delivered yet another masterful piece. Verdict: 8.5/10 Marul 9 EmmaGoodEgg 9 Rottentomatoes 69%

The Wolverine

Wolverine. This was way better than the first Wolverine. Script wise and action were better off too. I’m not really familiar with the director of the latest Wolverine movie but James Mangold has fine tuned what was missing in the first Wolverine movie. He made the audience engaged and kept it interesting until the very end which is tricky for a superhero movie. Hugh Jackman showed up his best as Logan/Wolverine and did you know that Hugh Jackman has appeared the most in his character as the Wolverine? That’s a pretty good stat and I’m glad he didn’t end up like Robert Downey Jr who is now earning big bucks for his demanding role as Tony Stark.

The Wolverine was sharp, witty, humourous with some interesting chemistry between Logan and Mariko, his short-term interest *lol* This movie kinda gave me back some faith in the Wolverine movie series and I do hope James Mangold will continue his work for Wolverine sequels. It already has come to a point that we are kind tired with superhero movies but this flick kinda pumped some freshness. The fight scenes weren’t as many but they were spot on when it mattered. The bullet train scene was one of the best scenes for me and it definitely puts a huge shame on the over-hyped Lone Ranger movie which invested poorly on the train action scene. The Wolverine has delivered indeed. Verdict: 8/10 Terence Han 8 Melati 8.5 Rottentomatoes 68%

Before Midnight

Before Midnight. It’s very rare that I love movies that are basically based on two characters, well most of the time, talking and interacting with each other about relationships and challenges. Yes, this is true in all relationship that we will go through challenges and how we grow out of it as a couple. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy were simply outstanding in this well-scripted movie and this is a good testament that we don’t need an overhyped rom-com antics to make a movie successful.

There are many metaphors and lessons that can be learned from the dialogue between the two and it made me want to explore further on each of the character. The highlight of the movie for me is definitely the conversation which takes up 95% of the movie *lol* Did you know this is the third instalment of the series, the first being Before Sunrise (1995) and the second, Before Sunset (2004). I know this is not shown in Brunei and I caught this in Seattle. I believe this is still showing in Singapore. I’m gonna order the trilogy of the “Before” and I wonder if there will be another sequel. Hmmm… Verdict: 8/10 Rottentomatoes 98%

3096 Days

3096 Days. Not for the faint-hearted this flick as it depicts a true story that took place in 1998 where a 10-year old Natascha Kampusch was kidnapped by the Austrian Wolfgang Priklopil who held her captive as a slave for 3096 days. It is such a depressing movie to go through but I believe that’s the intention of the director to make the movie more surreal so the audience could feel the pain that Natascha was going through for many years.

It was mentioned that not all the ordeals were told through the lens and if you wanted to learn more in depth about Natascha’s experience, there’s a book of the same title that gives a more tense account. I felt there were some parts that could have made it more rewarding to show the strengths and the resilience of Natascha. Then again, this is not an easy movie to produce for the eyes of the public. However, I salute her for having the courage to share her experiences and let’s hope her messages will touch and inspire others of her inner strength. It would have been interesting if the movie actually cover her life after escaping. Then again, that would have been an anti-climax ending. Verdict: 7/10

Pain & Gain

Pain & Gain. Hmmmm The Rock has been pretty busy this year with loads of movie being lined up for him. He’s been in four movies this year and all of them combined for a total of $1.3 billion worldwide for this year alone.. Amazing!! This is the reason why he’s one of the bankable wrestler/actor in Hollywood now. So he played a role of Paul Doyle in Pain & Gain based on a true story about a group of personal gym trainers who committed crime back in the 90s.

I didn’t know this was directed by Michael Bay and of course, the other lead actor was Mark Wahlberg who played Daniel Lugo. I would say that this falls under dark comedy and I felt some of the translation of the characters were half-baked and The Rock didn’t do justice for the role or maybe he was trying to hard to play such a role. I was surprised such account of what they did were based on a true story and what a complicated story it turned out to be as they only had one simple mission that turned sour. Did I gain anything out of the movie? No, Did I felt some pain? Maybe. Some will enjoy it, some will feel it’s an ok movie. I fall in the latter. Verdict: 6/10 Rottentomatoes 45%

Sharknado. Click image to watch Sharknado.

Sharknado. LOL, I don’t even know where to begin with this flick.. Sharknado, seriously??? I knew it was gonna be some lame ass movie but this movie seemed to bring lots of hype prior to its release. It’s a kind of movie that sets your mind to a no-brainer mode and just appreciate what these guy had to offer. Sometimes I wonder with Hollywood stars that lost the A-factor will resort to B-grade movies. For instance, Tara Reid (American Pie) and Ian Ziering (the classic Beverly Hills 90210) were the main casts for Sharknado and they needn’t need to act to their best as the premise says it all – a freak storm that carry man-eating sharks in LA. Wokkayyy..

So like I said this will be a hit or miss movie and there are simply so many flaws in the movie that I was laughing throughout the action scenes. I’m pretty sure this will be a hit on DVD or even the audience will be glued when it screens on HBO or Astro. I doubt it will be shown in the cinemas as it’s on limited release. However, this Syfy monster drama might just be your cup of tea. You can watch the whole movie on youtube. It’s super lame that you might just appreciate it for once. I can’t believe it scored pretty high on RT *lol*Verdict: 4/10 and 7/10 for some cheap thrill entertainment Rottentomatoes 91%

Grown Ups 2

Grown Ups 2. I missed the previous Adam Sandler’s movies. What has happen to him? Where is his old mojo? Grown Ups the movie was hilarious. The sequel was totally a disappointment. I dozed at some parts but maybe because I was still jet lag. Anyway, I won’t bother so much with Grown Ups 2 and I have lost faith in Adam Sandler. If he thinks that every movie that he is in will rake in $$$, his days are numbered. I hope they won’t make a third one. Oh, please… Verdict: 5/10 Rottentomatoes 7%

The Conjuring

The Conjuring. The most talked about horror movie this year. I watched this back in Seattle and it was good well-executed movie I have to admit. It’s never easy to bring freshness to a horror genre movie because we have seen it all and been through that process. We all are sucker for horror movies, right? But The Conjuring might just be the real deal here because of how it delivered the suspense and tension that we as the audience sought for whenever we watch a horror flick.

If you have seen the Exorcist, do expect a similar premise and I kinda preferred this movie overall because of its style the director managed to convey through horror and suspense. For once, I could sense that the audience were united as one, feeling terrified. Even postings on social media have been quite frequent on their experiences watching The Conjuring. I’m about to go for another round. Any, takers? Verdict: 8/10 Rottentomatoes 86%

Mr. Go

Mr. Go. I had reservations watching this because of the time constraint. But I’m glad I did before I flew back to Brunei. I’m also a sucker for Korean movies and Mr. Go was a great payoff. The only thing that didn’t register in my head is the fact of a gorilla, Mr. Go, playing baseball in the Korean League and he’s known for hitting home runs. Yeah, the idea might sound silly but I was more intrigued with the relationship between the 15 year old trainer and Mr. Go and put the gorilla’s sport agent in the mix, you have an interesting combo that was entertaining.

I hope to catch more Korean movies and sadly not much accessibility here in Brunei due to the cost involved. The movie Mr. Go is a definitely a crowd pleaser and it has a nice finale which I was pretty moved. Yea, I teared up a bit and excellent score too. Verdict: 8/10


jOBS. I like how the movie was spelt in this manner – jOBS. This is a movie that I might have high expectation on because I’m a big fan of the late Steve Jobs and he is my role model too. Ashton Kutcher had a big role in playing Jobs and I’m not quite sure if he pulled it off nicely. Have you seen Pirates of the Silicon Valley? I prefer that depiction of Jobs more than how Ashton portrayed as Jobs and that POSV had more emotional attachment to me.

jOBS had the potential to do more and I wish the direction could have been tighter. A good example of a biopic movie that I enjoyed over and over again was The Social Network. The pacing was great and it needn’t have to tell the whole timeline either to portray the character of Mark Zuckerberg. The script was slightly weak and the performances from the rest were just average. Despite the flaws, I still enjoyed the early journey of Jobs. You can listen to my podcast review of jOBS here and see what are your thoughts. Oh, I postponed my flight to Brunei to catch the sneaks with the media. Thanks Tiff and Fonzie for the opportunity 😀 Verdict: 7/10 Tiffany 7 Fonzie 7 Rottentomatoes 43%


A week left before donation cards closes


Many people – males and females – have already registered to volunteer to have their heads shaved to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer efforts in Brunei Darussalam, but the organizers would like to invite even more people to sign up and show their support for this cause.

The head-shaving activity will take place on 25th August during the upcoming ASEAN Year Consumer Fair which will be held on 21 – 25 August at the BRIDEX Hall in Jerudong. Participants will be shaved by hairdressers from IA Salon and will receive tokens of appreciation for their shows of support including a T-shirt which proudly states “ I did it!”

The charity event is organized by Consumer Fair organizer Sunlit Advertising Sdn Bhd, the Brunei Breast Cancer Support Group, and IA Salon.

Registration to participate in this significant event can be done at the Sunlit Advertising office in Beribi during office hours Monday to Friday until 12 August. Registration cards should be returned back to Sunlit Advertising office latest by 16th August. Anyone with a valid identity card or passport can sign up to collect donations through sponsorships to have their head shaved.

It’s happening in a few weeks’ time 😀

The sneak preview few weeks ago

Direct donations to the BBCSG can also be made now via the donation box located at the Sunlit Advertising office. The donation box will also be available during the Consumer Fair.

All funds raised from this charity head-shaving will be donated to the Brunei Breast Cancer Support Group towards buying educational tools to increase the public’s knowledge of breast cancer as well as to directly help breast cancer patients in Brunei Darussalam.

For those who wants to “Go Bald” on the spot, you are more than welcome to do so and perhaps there will be a registration process too before the shaving procedure and of course, you can also donate straightaway through the donation box. You won’t need the donation card then.

Sunlit Advertising would like to express its deep appreciation to those who have already registered to show support for the breast cancer cause through having their heads shaved, as well as of those who have generously donated via the donation box at the Sunlit Advertising office in Beribi.

Sunlit Advertising would also like to make aware to the public to be cautious in making donations to photocopied donation cards and fake collectors soliciting funds purportedly for this charity activity. For more information, please contact Sunlit Advertising at 2-453666.

For those who go bald, you will get this t-shirt

Don’t forget to return your donation cards latest by 16th August. You can still collect the donation card at Sunlit Advertising office until 12th August.



I miss Seattle

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in RA News

BIBD Barakah 4


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Keeping track of the 787s


We had a quick tour at the Boeing Operations Center last week

Now the trip to the Boeing Operation Center. I have to say this is like the “play room” for the Boeing that are in operation around the world. The Boeing Commercial Airplanes Center’s role are very crucial to their airline customers and Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) are one of their clients too. Their role is not as easy as it seems – to monitor the technicality of the Boeings if the planes need urgent attention or if they have engineering issues and these guys work around the clock 24/7 with great customer support of a current fleet of some 12,000 Boeing… Amazing!!!

So paid a visit to one of the operation center that handles the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and we were briefed on how each of the departments have their specific role on the different aspect of the 787. For instance, they can monitor the quality level of the component and they will inform the client even way before it hits critical level so their clients will be aware of what needs attention. Boeing 787 has been using new braking system and it’s electric compared to the previous types of brakes. Hence, the operation center will be able to detect should some of the components of the brake if it needs to be attended to or replaced.

I guess that’s the awesome part about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Not only that Royal Brunei are getting the Dreamliners but they will be enjoying the perks of the after-sale service such as the around-the-clock customer service on the conditions and also maintenance for the Dreamliners. That service alone is a clear winner and it’s no surprise that there are many orders for the Boeing 787 from different countries.

It was definitely a privilege to actually witness behind-the-scene of the Boeing Operation Center for the Dreamliner. Thank you, Boeing, for the insightful tour.

The director who oversees the operation of the Boeing 787

The 787s that in operation at that time of the moment

They can even check the crew oxygen pressure from the control room. Amazing!

Even WWE superstars congratulated them on their milestone last year


Buy 1, Get 1 Free via Stanchart tomorrow


Click banner to find out more!!

This is an awesome deal happening right now from Standard Chartered Bank who had a great tie up with Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) and why so? Because you can travel to a destination by buying one ticket and getting the other ticket FREEEEEE!!!!!! Awesome, right?? The new destinations will be announced every Wednesday from 31st July 2013 to 14 August 2013. So for last week, it was Kuala Lumpur, one of the most popular destinations among Bruneians. For this week, the destination is featured on their website, so go check it out!!

So how does this work? Ok, here’s the deal. You really have to be quick in buying your air ticket via www.flyroyalbrunei.com on a Wednesday as only the first 50 customers who purchased via online will be eligible for the FREE ticket of that particular destination which will be Kuala Lumpur for this week. The successful recipient of the promotion of the FREE ticket will receive an SMS after one working day and an email will be sent to you accordingly. For more, T&C click here.

The travel period for the free ticket ex-Brunei is from 13th October to 28th November 2013 and 3rd January to 23rd January and 8th February to 28th February 2014. For your info, this promotion does not apply to VISA corporate, VISA Business credit cards or e-Cash Card.

So get your Stanchart credit cards prepared for tomorrow as the booking period will be only from 10am to 4pm, Wednesday 7th August. For more info, you can click here and here for their Facebook updates 😀 I’m very certain this promotion will sky rocket like crazy. Great collaboration between Stanchart and RB.
Stay tuned for next week’s destination (and a good time to sign up for Stanchart credit card too). 

The Boeing factory


The media in the ASEAN handshake after the sneaks of RB’s 787 Dreamliner

One of the highlights of my Seattle trip is the Everett Tour. This is the assembly point for the Boeing planes that we see flying around the world. I love it!!! I’m just in awe and I don’t know how to describe the feeling at all. I shared my thoughts with the Boeing management on how amazed I was with the Boeing’s Everett Factory where is the home to the 747, 767, 777 and of course the 787 Dreamliner production lines.

Did you know that the Everett Factory is the biggest plane factory in the world? We were fortunate that we were able to take photos and videos at the Boeing factory so that was definitely an awesome experience. It was quite a long tour because the factory was just massive and you will be awe on how the production lines work there.

We managed to see two Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) planes in the midst of production at the Everett Factory and they are half way from completion and they should be ready by mid-August or early September in time for the delivery of RB’s first Boeing 787 to Brunei by end of September or early October 2013.

Did you know that Brunei Darussalam will be the first country in South East Asia to fly the Boeing 787? That’s a significant milestone for a small country but this really shows what Royal Brunei represents and the delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is also in line with their rebranding strategy. RB is really taking their vision and rebranding seriously and they are slowly paying dividends and gaining back the confidence from the public.

Anyway, my next post will be the press conference and the presentation by Azhani Abu Daniel, RB’s Head of Corporate Communications and you will know more in depth on RB’s direction and their take on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. The proudest moment for me then was stepping on the first RB’s 787 while it was still in production.

Thank you Boeing and RB for giving us the opportunity to explore the Everett Factory as well as viewing RB’s 787 Dreamliner. Soon, it won’t be a dream as you will be able to experience as a passenger on the 787 😀

Our Boeing passes prior to entering the factory

The Everett factory is humungous to say the least. It’s the biggest plane factory in the world.

The working office environment at Everett factory

Dress in white

The top angle view of RB’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner

It’s amazing how they can build airplanes in just a short span of time

There’s still no exact news on when the Dreamliner will make its way to Brunei in Sept/Oct 2013

The internal components of the wings. This sight made me more appreciative of the wings of any airplane

The media in the ASEAN handshake after the sneaks of RB’s 787 Dreamliner

The media in the ASEAN handshake after the sneaks of RB’s 787 Dreamliner

The interior of RB’s 787 Dreamliner

The internal parts of the turbine

The deck station of the Boeing 787

Proudly present to you RB’s 787 Dreamliner

The other side of the factory which produces tons of the Boeing 777



The hero in us

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in RA News

Decisions, decision!!


RA says normally when you see this iconic inset picture, you may thought that it will be another Ugly Truth segment *lol* I haven’t been attending my blog lately and guilt is there but I ask myself to who do I owe my postings to (apart from my clients)? Actually I created that expectations in myself which kinda set the mentality of others that I will always be active and constantly updating my blog on a daily basis. I would do it automatically and naturally especially when I’m in Brunei. Somehow I find that pattern to be slightly different when I’m outstation because of the tons of distractions that I find myself indulge to. Most of all, I look forward to take time off the blogging world and you can still catch me on my social media outlets as I’m pretty active there.

My previous posting may be have some controversial element but I do hope the discussions I have raised can be taken as constructive rather than blame. I do understand and appreciate the role that MUIB have to play in our community and we have respect the rulings imposed by MUIB. Having respect doesn’t mean that we don’t respect other people’s constructive opinions. I’m not sure what’s the latest news but the last I could recall is that the Municipal Board won’t take any action should the new rulings on restaurants are not being met. If you missed the story, just scroll down the post and that, my friend, is still an unfinished article. Ah well, let it pass, otherwise I will get caught in writing nonsense.

Right now I’m still in Singapore after transiting from Seattle a few nights ago. My sleeping pattern hasn’t fully adjusted to normal body clock. Let’s give it a few more days and hopefully before Hari Raya and I will be back on the groove. My sleeping hours is at an average of 4-5 hours which is not healthy. Yesterday I even yawned during my first experience of The Phantom of the Opera musical broadway. I’m not saying that the broadway was boring. Just shows how tired I can be during the day while fasting and lack of sleep. Anyway, the musical broadway was pretty, pretty good. Judging overall, The Wicked might just pipped Phantom of the Opera in terms of entertainment value but the ending of the Opera was one of the best I’ve seen on a musical play.

So far I’m enjoying my short stay in Singapore as my family is here too. They will be celebrating Hari Raya in Singapore but I shall be back pretty soon. I have indulged myself in spending or maybe overspend myself in Adidas apparels which is unhealthy. Now I have to discipline myself and focus on just enjoying my short stay in Singapore. One thing that I bought is an iRig Mic Cast for my phone as I will be pursuing a new avenue by having sound bytes from @ranoadidas through SoundCloud 😀 You can click here to listen to my first sound byte and I’m still thinking on what to talk about. One of it could be on movies since I’m a movie buff but I would need a partner for that segment. I’m kinda excited about this project since it’s a spin-off from the usually blog or reading format. Having the listen to a voice makes it more intimate and gives more edge to the topic 😀

I shall continue later with my movie reviews.. For now, I’m off to sleep.



Flawed, unplanned

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in RA News

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The Ugly Truth


RA says first of all, Happy weekend to all of you. I’m still recovering from jet lag from my US trip and it’s not easy you know especially if you are traveling back and forth from the US in just less than a week. Nonetheless, it was a fun trip indeed and I would have chose the option to stay a night or two longer than usual. There were still places of interests that I didn’t manage to visit such as the space needle, Seattle Art Museum and the Pike Market to name a few. Hopefully I will be sent again to Seattle in September insyaAllah and I will make those visits a reality. Anyway, a big thanks to Royal Brunei Airlines and Boeing Company for the wonderful experience in Seattle for the past few days.

Ok for today’s Ugly Truth, it will be slightly controversial and it has been controversial from the public responses ever since The Brunei Times posted a front page article about the new directive where Non-muslims are not allowed to dine in restaurants and cafes that are owned by Muslims or partly owned by Muslims. This statement alone have already raised some eyebrows especially the way it was worded in the article as it can be perceived as racist or prejudice though I can assure that wasn’t the intention by them. I believe if the article was written or rephrased in a different manner, it would have eliminated the risk of such perception. Then again, such article is a tricky one to express with factual contents given by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) last week and for the past week or so, the hot topic has been this issue which has been reported six times in a span of a week in The Brunei Times.

My instagram posting alone last week hit a record 160 comments and it was the first time that I also posted something that I don’t 100% agree to an extent of the new directive set by MUIB. I knew what implications it might bring because it’s a religious related. Honestly, when the previous directive on the shops closing during Friday prayers, it was a culture shock for many but it was a good move and slowly many saw the significance and intention behind it.

However, for this particular directive, it has sparked some mixed feelings and some had good arguments and the rationale on why the new directive won’t seem fit for our country. The trending reason that I picked up from the discussions and comments boils down to “tolerance”. I do have a similar argument to this but what boggles me is the timing of the implementation of the directive from MUIB. Why was it announced by the halfway mark of Ramadhan? Yes, I have seen many argued for that this is the best move by MUIB.

However, they failed to see the inappropriate timing of the execution which was in the middle of the Ramadhan which made the council looked unprepared for such a plan. In other words, it wasn’t a properly executed plan. For a proper execution, they would have done an awareness campaign to inform the public through the media prior to Ramadhan rather than an impromptu deployment of the directive which caused a huge culture shock to many.

The new directive that stirred some mixed feelings from the public. Click image to read the comments from my instagram posting.

I do appreciate MUIB for carrying out their duties for the good of Brunei and also shaping Brunei into a Zikir Nation. Perhaps the execution of things could have been done more appropriate and timely too. With the recent coverage in The Brunei Times, this doesn’t look good on the image of the council and I have predicted that it might end up with a scenario like this.

This situation could have given much thought and even the Municipal Board has come into the picture as they are the one issuing memos to restaurants and cafes on the new directive. However, it was to the public’s knowledge that NO ACTION will be taken against Muslim restaurant owners should they still allow dining in service in their premises during Ramadhan. It was mentioned in The Brunei Times that this is just an awareness period to advise and inform the public of the new directive. Hence no action will be taken against Muslim operators who served during the day time.

This is one reason why I thought that the new directive seemed so rushed and now even the public seemed uncertain of the situation. After the announcement from the Municipal Board, I have a few restaurant owners who are quite furious as they have already taken steps in changing their business hours. This is the kind of stuff that could have been avoided. Where’s the proper planning and execution of the new directive?

To be fair, there are quite a number of people that applauded such move by the MUIB and it’s 60/40 are against the new ruling according to the comments I received on my instagram. I would like to thank my followers on instagram on their comments (pros and cons) and it is nice to have different views of things and that’s the great gift that we all have – the expression of our thoughts and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to agree or disagree with it because we are entitled to our opinions. What pisses me off are people who are rude and inconsiderate in replying comments in an uncivilized manner which makes a discussion fruitless and less constructive. In this month of Ramadhan, it’s about our inner strength, faith, discipline and patience to name a few.

I’m happy that The Brunei Times are quite engrossed in this issue and it’s no surprise that their hits are hitting like crazy ever since it became a debatable topic. I’m pretty sure this will still be an ongoing topic and I’m not sure if MUIB will be reviewing the policy after some mixed responses from the public. For you info, the MUIB stated the the new ruling was in accordance with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darusslam’s 2007 titah to turn Brunei into a Zikir nation which was highlighted in today’s paper.

All in all, I hope MUIB will review the new ruling and that’s just my opinion and I welcome positive and constructive criticism for a more open ended dialogue. Sorry for the long rant 😀 Happy Ramadhan.




August 2013
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