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Archive for March, 2015


Till next time in 2019

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Half chance gone 

The first team line-up last night. Image courtesy of Fazizul Haqimie.

Close but no cigar. Brunei was pretty close. Well, result based yes but performance wise, Brunei still have more rooms for improvement. As Mike Wong, interim head coach of Brunei Darussalam, said that Brunei need more international matches even friendly ones. Last night Brunei failed to capitalize on their home soil advantage as they went down to Chinese Taipei 2-0 and lost out on aggregate 2-1. Brunei Darussalam initially had a slim away lead after winning 1-0 in Chinese Taipei, giving our country a much needed hope to qualify for the next round of the qualifying group stage for the World Cup 2018.

Brunei Darussalam started pretty well and it was the influence of Ak Fakharazzi that create Brunei earlier chances. But Brunei’s shape changed and their performance dipped as a whole when he was taken off early in the game due to a back injury. Brunei’s attacking force was then depleted with Azwan Ali not being featured due to injury as well. It was a performance below average from Brunei and let this be a good lesson for Brunei and also NFABD that more international matches would have benefited the team’s performance.

Chinese Taipei were more composed of the two teams and they didn’t seem troubled by the huge turnout (more than 10,000 spectators). They played a possession game and controlled the match in different patches and looked more solid as a team whereas Brunei struggled to get 5 to 6 passes together. The visitors could have bagged in more goals if it wasn’t for the heroics of Wardun Yussof in goal. He kept the scoreline more respectable and he did the best he could for the team.

Mike Wong didn’t want to fault his players individually and he was happy with the team as a whole with the short given time to gel as a unit. He shared how Chinese Taipei were more experienced and they had more matches and hence looked more composed than Brunei. The bright point for the two performances from Brunei is that the head coach saw the level increased from the team as compared to five years ago. He advised that Brunei should move forward and see the development in the next six months for the national team and sought for long term goals.

Chinese Taipei head coach Chen Kuei-Jen looked happier during the press conference and he was confident that his team can beat Brunei at their own soil ground. He was disappointed that his team couldn’t muster any goals despite dominating in the first leg. He wasn’t surprised when Brunei opted for a defensive approach to shield Brunei’s one goal lead. On a good note, he was impressed with Brunei’s progress in the football scene and it was his first taste of what Brunei is capable of.

Goals by Wang Ruei and Turkish born Chun En-Le sealed the victory for the visitors while Brunei will have to wait till 2019 for another opportunity for a pre-World Cup qualifying spot. Nonetheless it was a great experience for Brunei national team and also the spectators. We are still 100% behind you.


Adi Said couldn’t make an impact last night. Image courtesy of Fazizul Haqimie.

A minor scuffle. Image courtesy of Fazizul Haqimie.

Brunei Darussalam vs Chinese Taipei. Image courtesy of Fazizul Haqimie.

Brunei Darussalam vs Chinese Taipei. Image courtesy of Fazizul Haqimie.

I saw my friends from a distance

Players not happy with a referee decision

Wardun kicking a souvenir ball to a spectator after the final whistle

Hello my friend 😀

Chinese Taipei head coach lifted by his players. Image courtesy of Fazizul Haqimie.

Chinese Taipei head coach in jubilant mood during the post match interview

Mike Wong, interim head coach, wished for more friendly international matches for more experience



Fervent indeed

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Royalty grace Lunar New Year 

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam with Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha, HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik, HRH Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel and HRH Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah in selfie moment with Maria Grace Koh @Eia and His Majesty praised the vocal of our own local youth star

It was an affair fit for a king as 1,200 members of the Tiong Hwa community united to celebrate the Lunar New Year with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, at the International Convention Centre (ICC) yesterday.

The annual meet and greet was organised to welcome the Year of the Goat, showcase Chinese culture as well as promote close and harmonious relations in the country.

Accompanying the monarch were Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hjh Saleha, His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, and Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah.

Also present were His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, HRH Prince Hj Jefri Bolkiah, HRH Prince ‘Abdul Malik, HRH Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel, HRH Princess Ameerah Wardatul Bolkiah, HRH Princess Hjh Masna and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Lela Cheteria Sahibun Najabah Pengiran Anak Hj Abdul Aziz.

The royal family was welcomed by Yang Berhormat Pehin Kapitan Lela Diraja Dato Paduka Goh King Chin and Chairman of the Executive Committee Lim Tiong Han@Lim Peh Beng at the ICC entrance, which was decked in traditional red Chinese lanterns, flowers and arches adorned with symbols of the goat.

For more of the story, you can click here. Text courtesy of Rasidah HAB of The Brunei Times.


Magic show

10 year old Zoe Chan wooing the audience with her powerful vocal

Cultural dance

Eia showing her talent. Keep it up!!

This was a cute performance

The new U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Craig Allen was also in attendance

Behind the scene: The little girl is ready for the show

Behind the scene: Students preparing for their performance



Excapade New Office 

An open office warming at Excapade Sushi new office last week. Thank you to the owners of Excapade Sushi and I really love the new office space. Now they can better manage their inventories as well as delivery point for their multiple branches in Brunei.

Michael Chong of Excapade Sushi (left) with his invited guest during the luncheon invitation

Great spread of Japanese dishes

Guests mingling

Ridwan trying out the fresh food from Excapade Sushi



Facelift at RB’s office in SG 

Dermot Mannion, Deputy Chairman of Royal Brunei Airlines (RB), His Excellency Haji Awang Saifulbahri bin Haji Awang Mansor, Brunei High Commissioner in Singapore and Mr Shahron Shahar as the new RB Country Manager Singapore during the launch of the newly refurbished and rebranded office in Singapore at UE Square Shopping Mall

Late post: Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) has launched its newly refurbished and rebranded office in Singapore at UE Square Shopping Mall. Guest of Honour for the launch event in the bright, new and very customer friendly office setting was Brunei High Commissioner in Singapore, His Excellency Haji Awang Saifulbahri bin Haji Awang Mansor.

The event also provided an opportunity to showcase the new RB heritage inspired uniform collection to be proudly worn by customer service staff. The warm spectrum of uniform colours ranging from olive to morning sky and fresh mint, together with the new vibrant office layout is all designed to reflect the friendly and welcoming nature of the people of Brunei Darussalam and RB brand.

Commenting on the launch, Deputy Chairman, Dermot Mannion said:

‘This is the latest phase in our network wide rebranding process which began  eighteen months ago with the arrival of our state of the art Dreamliner fleet. Already our Friday/Sunday Dreamliner service to/from Singapore has been very well received and this service is set to continue.

For services on other days of the week, Singapore customers can look forward to the deployment of  new A320 aircraft later in the year, with rebranded interiors and high levels of passenger comfort and amenity.’

At the launch event, Mr  Mannion also took the opportunity to announce the appointment of  Mr Shahron Shahar as the new RB Country Manager Singapore. Mr Shahar is former Sales and Marketing Manager Singapore for Turkish Airlines and he joins RB with more than 20 years’ experience in the travel industry.   He will replace outgoing Country Manager Ms Lim Guan Wen who is returning to head office after four years in Singapore to take up a new position in RB customer loyalty program – Royal Skies. Text and images courtesy of RB.


Ribbon cutting

The newly refurbished and rebranded Royal Brunei Airlines office in Singapore at UE Square Shopping Mall




Have courage, Be kind

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


The New Scirocco 

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Are you Progresif? 

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Download SnapFeed 

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Half way mark 

Brunei team posing with visiting team from Chinese Taipei in this morning’s press conference

This is it!!! Brunei is confident that they will get a result out of tomorrow’s big clash with Chinese Taipei. They have initially won the first leg 1-0 away in Chinese Taipei last Saturday. It was a historic moment for Brunei Darussalam as it is their first competitive victory in the pre-World Cup qualifying and the best part is that they achieved the result with a clean sheet away from home.

They have won have the battle but tomorrow is the bigger day. They will need to at least get a draw to get pass Chinese Taipei. The match will be held tomorrow at the Hassanal Bolkiah Stadium at 8:15pm. Entrance is FREE and tickets will be available at the entrance. Yes, at the entrance and the gates are opened at 5:45pm tomorrow. For the record, there are 10,000 tickets being issued though you can still enter the stadium without the tickets but the tickets printed are part of the requirement from FIFA to calculate the number of attendance for tomorrow’s match.

Of course, the maximum capacity is 20,000 and they will have proper management of allowing spectators to enter the stadium.

Azwan Salleh, captain of Brunei Darussalam, Hj Mohd Noor Hj Hamid, the team manager for Brunei Darussalam, Ameer Lani, Marketing and Communication Executive of National Football Association of Brunei Darussalam, Chen Kuei-Jen, Head Coach of Chinese Taipei and Chen Yi-Wei, Captain of Chinese Taipei in today’s press conference

Azwan Salleh, captain of Brunei Darussalam exchanging hand shakes with Chen Yi-Wei, Captain of Chinese Taipei

Azwan Salleh addressing to the media

The media at the press conference

Hj Mohd Noor Hj Hamid, the team manager for Brunei Darussalam, believes a draw is sufficient for Brunei as they have a goal advantage. He expects Brunei team to give a better performance as this will be a historic moment if they go through the preliminary stage of the World Cup qualifiers. The team manager shared that Chinese Taipei had many scoring opportunities in the last game but it was the heroics of Wardun Yussof in goal and the defence that made the victory. He encourages all the Brunei supporters to come tomorrow to catch the match against Chinese Taipei.

The Chinese Taipei head coach is also confident that they can get a result tomorrow and his players are well acclimatized to the humid weather in Brunei. Of course, he felt disappointed after the 1-0 loss at home but during training the next day, they just forget about the past and focused on the upcoming game as the 2nd match is more important than the first. He believed tomorrow’s match will be exciting for the fans of Brunei and Chinese Taipei and to the fans of football.

Azwan Salleh, the captain of Brunei team, expressed how the matches against Chinese Taipei is the biggest match of his life because it’s a qualifier for the World Cup and this is the biggest tournament that he has ever been in. He shared that this opportunity doesn’t come to Brunei all the time.

I will be expecting a full house attendance tomorrow and the crowd will be filled with yellow and black tomorrow. Can Brunei make it through the pre-qualifying stage? We shall wait and see. Good luck to the players tomorrow.


Get your tickets tomorrow at the entrance. This will be a good souvenir to keep for a very long time.

A few nights ago, Brunei made history when they scored an away victory. Can they repeat the same thing again tomorrow and qualify?


Cinderella the review 

Catching Cinderella with my siblings last night at The Mall Cineplex. A highly recommended movie for all ages and if you like Frozen, you are in for a better treat.

Check out my full review on my podcast (The Popcorn Panel) on SoundCloud on Disney’s Cinderella 2015.




Happy Saturday

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


PEUGEOT in Geneva 

One of the concept cars from PEUGEOT at the 85th International Geneva Motor Show 2015

Whether you know it or not, PEUGEOT’s global sales has been up by 5.4% and this is thanks to the growth of the market in China and Europe. PEUGEOT even made their presence felt at the 85th International Geneva Motor Show 2015.

This time, PEUGEOT hosted more than 3 concept cars, the PEUGEOT 2008 DKR and 23 other models including the new PEUGEOT 208 which will be unveiled in a world premiere (date unsure). The 208 has been best seller in its range and almost selling at 1 million units (impressive) and it’s no surprise that PEUGEOT is getting a makeover.


PEUGEOT 208 GTi version

During the International Geneva Motor Show, PEUGEOT continues to brand their position in the upmarket and they did executed this approach by having 3 exhibition areas.

The GT Line area (PEUGEOT 208, 308, 509 and RCZ).

The Sport area (PEUGEOT 308 & 308 SW GT, RCZ R and 208 GTi by PEUGEOT sport

The Technologies area (EAT6 and the Euro 6 PureTech, BlueHDi and THP engine powers)


PEUGEOT 208 GT version

Another PEUGEOT Concept Car

The new PEUGEOT 208 and it’s better…

The exterior style is sleeker. It has a larger grille, a new black and chrome two-tone lights with a new LED light signature, new painted, diamond-effect wheels and a new LED claw effect rear lights.

The interior features the i-Cockpit driving station with its compact steering wheel, heads-up instrument panel and its large touchscreen. It has a soft-touch dashboard insert with a visual design, blue LED light guides for versions equipped with a panoramic roof and MirrorScreen.


The new PEUGEOT 108

The PEUGEOT 108 has more zest…

Launched in summer 2014, the city-dweller with the sleek and chic design made around 40% of its sales in levels 3 and 4 (Allure and Féline), and the cabriolet TOP! makes up around one 108 out of five.

To build on this success, all engine powers meet the Euro 6 standard and the 108 range is growing with the arrival of the special Roland Garros edition. The two-tone version is now available in 3- and 5-door models and six colour combinations.




New menu at KFC 

KFC unveiled a new product at its outlet today, the Black Pepper Mushroom Spaghetti combo meal.

Spaghetti, a favourite among Bruneians, now comes with a melted cheese, peppery taste gravy and mushroom bits topped with Original Recipe seasoned chicken and a regular size soft drink of customer’s choice. All this for only just $3.50.

The Black Pepper Mushroom Spaghetti is a limited time offer only while stock last and is now available at all KFC outlets in Brunei.


Black Pepper Mushroom Spaghetti combo meal


Get it right

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


The C-Class 

The best car of 2015. The C-Class.




During one of the sessions of Borneo Global Issues Conference


The International School Brunei Borneo Global Issues Conference (ISB BGIC) recently concluded its 11th annual student-led conference on a high note yesterday with over 200 students representing the member countries of the United Nations.

These students, who came from 23 local schools, including the host school, International School Brunei, have participated as Delegates to research a country other than their own, study the culture, history political situation and its position on UN Agenda items, and prepare presentation speeches outlining their position. They have debated global issues from economic and socio-political issues to human rights, security councils and the environment.

The theme for ISB BGIC this year is ‘Combatting World Diseases’. Some issues include questions of the safety and security of humanitarian or medical aid workers and volunteers in commission in nations outside their respective nationalities, reassessing and evaluating the precautionary measures undertaken by nations against the outbreak of Ebola and appropriate response(s) to disease outbreak contrary to natural disasters.

Last Monday passed resolutions were debated in the General Assembly. All the Delegates had profusely researched the countries and topics they had been. The Secretaries General, Parliamentarians and Committee Chairs administered and controlled the conference and debate, demonstrated a mastery of parliamentary procedure, and provided strong leadership.

James Gilmour, ISB BGIC XI coordinator, in his closing remarks mentioned that he was a bit worried on the first day as the delegates were very quiet. But within a few days, he was extremely glad that the students were able to engage with each other, discuss and debate among each other in finalising the meeting’s resolutions, and he thought that the students did a fantastic job.

The ISB BGIC concluded with a certificate presentation and students’ performances. School representatives, Floor Secretaries, Volunteers, as well as teaching staffs and admins who have helped in the preparation of ISB BGIC, were also recognised for their efforts during this closing ceremony.

For the students who took part in the International School Brunei Borneo Global Issues Conference, this is a defining moment in their development and will play a role in their future career choices, university admission and personal commitment to making this world a better place. Press release by International School of Brunei.













Milestones for BIBD 

Salman Ashraf Khan, BIBD Treasure, receiving the Islamic Bank of the Year

James Chua, Co-Deputy Treasurer of BIBD, receiving the Qatar Deal of the Year

One of the leading banks in Brunei, BIBD hit another milestone as they emerged Islamic Bank of the Year Brunei and Qatar Deal of the Year in two categories of the Islamic Finance News (IFN) Awards 2015.

The event took place at Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur and representatives from BIBD were Salman Ashraf Khan and, BIBD Treasurer and James Chua, Co-Deputy Treasurer of BIBD. This has shown that BIBD has been making a great presence in the international Islamic Finance arena.

The recognition for Islamic Bank of the Year Brunei continues BIBD’s string of “Best Bank in Brunei” awards, a distinction that the bank notes with pride and which reinforces its commitment to better serving its customers and community. The bank received the award for Qatar Deal of the Year due to its participation as one of the main Arrangers for Ezdan Holding’s USD 500 million international Ijarah syndication. The 100% Islamic deal adhered strictly to the very highest Ijarah and Loan Market Association standards, and was the first of its kind for a Qatari corporation and the Qatari real estate industry. The deal was also able to attract conservative accounts like ADIB and Qatar First Bank.

To be recognized in the IFN is no easy feat. IFN is categorically recognised as the Islamic Finance industry’s leading publication. With a world-wide readership in excess of 21,000 industry practitioners and regulators, the IFN Awards offer its winners a truly global audience and a phenomenal vehicle in which to reach one’s clients, potential clients and peers.

Established in 2006, the IFN Awards honours the best in the Islamic financial industry. It is one of the most prestigious awards and highly recognised by the global Islamic capital markets. Selection of category winners is based on an elimination process where a panel of experts from non-competing organisations sieve through all submissions until just one transaction in each category remains. This year, over 300 nominations in over 25 categories were received, resulting in the most competitive deal of the year competition since its inception.




2nd outlet 

Thank you, Denise, for the invitation during the opening of the second outlet of Paddington House of Pancake at Gadong (next to McDonald’s)

I’m glad that PHOP or better known as Paddington House of Pancake has opened its second outlet and it’s located at Gadong. This will be convenient for many and it’s strategically placed in the heart of Gadong. For those who are not aware of what PHOP, let me simply describe as a savoury of western dishes with a unique way of serving them with pancakes, well not all of them but you will get the gist.

My favourite has always been their burgers because of the home made patties. The ambience is similar to the first outlet though it’s a little more intimate due to the allowance of space.

The menus are not finalized just yet but the dishes are different from the Berakas outlet. You will notice maybe one or two regular dishes in the new menu. So plenty of reasons to try out the dishes.

One thing to look for is the berry ice cube drinks. The fruits such as watermelon or oranges will be sliced and frozen into ice cube shapes and then you simply pour the ice tea drinks to blend with the fruited ice cubes. Amazing combo!!

You can read more on Thanis’ entry of Paddington House of Pancakes and he has ton more pictures to show. Congratulations Denise and your family for the second outlet. I am a happy man 😀


My favourite pasta so far. This is new – The Chipotle creamy pasta.

This used to my favourite *lol* but still packs the power – Egg Carbonara Pasta

Chicken Waffle Sandwich




The Dino Experience 


How it looks when night falls. Image courtesy of Dino Expo Brunei Facebook

I don’t know why there is so much craze on Dinosaurs. Last December and January, D’Sunlit had their dinosaur displays for the public. This time round, this is supposedly the biggest.. well, as it was marketed, ASEAN’s Largest Dino Expo and it will end on 12th April 2015. Maybe because with the popular upcoming summer movie Jurassic World. Honestly, dinosaurs are not my cup of tea personally. If it was a land full of walking zombies, you can count me in 😀

As reported, they are expecting thousands of visitors to visit the Dino Expo at BRIDEX. I had a sneak preview before it was actually completed but I had an overall feel of the expo. The only thing that caught my interest was the Electric Car Amusement Ride since like I said, I’m not a big fan of dinosaurs. That thing is pretty cool indeed.

I had my quick rounds with Michelle from The Brunei Times. For more information and inquiries about the Dino Park Exhibition, please contact 8728178 or 2260498. Tickets are selling at $30 for adults and $15 for children. You can click here on their Facebook for more info.

Michelle trying out the Dino Ride

Students visiting the Dino Park. Image courtesy of Dino Expo Brunei Facebook.

There’s a panda section

The 5D simulator. Image courtesy of Dino Expo Brunei Facebook

Tickets selling. Image courtesy of The Brunei Times.

This is the one that caught my eye. Not sure if this is operating now.




80% completed

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


The New Scirocco 

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Are you Progresif? 

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Download SnapFeed 

Download SnapFeed app on your smartphones and check out the latest deals in Brunei and also get rewarded from respective merchants such as BurgerKing, KFC and Sushi Tei to name a few.


Dino Meal Combo 

Mr Alex Liew, Sales Manager of Digi-Mark Enterprise (left) with Jonathan Bong, Senior Marketing Manager, KFC (B) Sdn Bhd (center) during the launch of the promotion last week

Coinciding with the Dino Expo that’s currently happening in the Sultanate, KFC is offering a special Limited collectibles Dinosaur Egg toy and introducing a special Dino Meal Combo at it’s outlets.

The dinosaur egg toy comes in few variations of different colours and can transform into different types of dinosaurs. Customers can purchase the Dinosaur Egg toy for only B$1 with any chicken purchase at any KFC outlets in Brunei. Although a children’s toy, many adults might find the toy interesting as it’s similar to those sold in the market decades ago. “Just as chickens and eggs relates to KFC, the dinosaur egg toy will relate to many adult’s youthful times” says Jonathan Bong, Senior Marketing Manager, KFC (B) Sdn Bhd.

Wanting something more than the Dinosaur Egg toy, customers can also try out the Dino Meal Combo. The meal combo consist of one piece of chicken, three pieces of the crispy prawn along with a portion of the fragrant Colonel Chicken Rice, one regular serving of the fresh coleslaw, a regular-sized Revive drink and one dinosaur egg toy, all for only $6.80. “More than 500 million years ago, giant prawn-like creatures called anomalocaridid used to roam the world so it’s only fitting for the occasion that we have to include our new product (crispy prawn) into this prehistoric Dino Meal Combo”, added Bong.

Present for the product launching is Mr Alex Liew, Sales Manager of Digi-Mark Enterprise, representing the joint venture companies of Digi-Mark Enterprise, A.T.P.D Sdn Bhd, Explorer and Weicom Enterprise who brought in the ASEAN largest Dino Expo to Brunei.

As the official food and beverage provider for the ASEAN Largest Dino Expo, KFC will be present at restaurant section of the Bridex Hall to serve the dining needs of visitors during the whole event from 7th March to 12th April 2015. As an added bonus, every one Dino Park ticket purchased since 20th January 2015 onwards are entitled to received one B$3.50 KFC coupon that can be used at any KFC outlets in Brunei for any purchase, valid until 30th April 2015. Customers that have not received their KFC coupons will be given to them upon showing their Dino Park ticket at the info counter available at the Bridex Hall during the said event.

The Dinosaur Egg toy limited collectibles and KFC Dino Meal Combo will be available at all KFC outlets starting 7th March 2015 for a limited time only, while stock last.

The dinosaur egg toy comes in few variations of different colours and can transform into different types of dinosaurs. Customers can purchase the Dinosaur Egg toy for only B$1 with any chicken purchase at any KFC outlets in Brunei



Maria conducting vocal classes 

Maria Grace Koh, a former student and now a vocal trainer at Brunei Symphony Music School.

Symphony Music, the sole authorized school in Brunei for Yamaha Music Education, now offers vocal classes conducted by Brunei-born international recording artist and song-writer – Maria Grace Koh. Better known under her stage name “Eia”, she has a wide wealth of experience performing locally and abroad. Many of you may have been familiar with her success, competing in World Championship of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in 2013 and 2014 in Hollywood, winning medals and her passion has always been music.

Did you know that Maria has her first formal training in music in Symphony Music School? She was only 3 years old when she enrolled in the Junior Music Course. She completed ABRSM Grade 8 Piano a few years later and that have planted her success to where she is now. It’s good to see Maria giving back to the community and also a gratitude gesture towards the Symphony Music School for developing her into an iconic musician in Brunei.

Maria will be conducting vocal classes covering a wide range of genres from contemporary pop to Broadway and Jazz. Each class will be conducted on a one-on-one basis and lessons will be structured according to the level the student would like to go, whether it is beginner, intermediate or professional level. A 30-minute class held four times a month cost $80.

The school also offers a wide range of music lessons, from piano to guitar and vocal lessons for all ages. For more information on registering for the new vocal class or just any other classes available at the school, please contact Symphony Music School at 2430573.


Anna Tang, a representative from TCY Motors, Maria Grace Koh with a representative from Symphony Music School and Mark Paren


It’s about time to learn 

A session being held at Aiko and Taro Playhouse for kids to learn and grow

What is happening to the younger kids in the past five years? I’m not referring to the unhealthier lifestyle (though it is still slightly related) but more into the culture of reading. With the age of indigo (the age of information) setting in, there’s no denying the fact that technology has become a stumbling block for children to actually read. Instead they are more attracted to the gadgets such as tablets or even spending more time watching cartoons. This has become a challenging factor for parents as they want children to be educated and have fun too. So there’s a way to balance things out and one of the places that I would recommend is Aiko and Taro Playhouse.

One of the best time for children to learn something new is from the age of 4 to 6 because that’s how our right brain works in stimulating activities. If you want your children to be skilled at something, for instance learning English or Chinese or even making Origami, this is the best age group and you will know never that it will become a habit and in a long run, become part of their lives. Same applies to reading or taking up educational activities such as art or music. I planned to educate my future children on the essence of reading to prepare themselves for primary and secondary classes because I want the best for my future children.

The owner of Aiko and Taro Playhouse, JC Yong, is passionate on encourage children to explore educational activities in a fun environment. His daughter has been groomed through early reading by using simple exercises consistently until she was able to absorb and learn more. Yong is proud to share that her daughter is able to read novels at a very young age and by reading, it can open many doors of opportunities especially subjects that students learn in classes.

Yong believes in his theory of the “Feel Concept” – to Feed, to Expose, to Encourage and to Lead. First step is to Feed knowledge to the kids and once they absorb that, then the next step is to Expose them to arts and music to see if they have interest. When we are kids, it’s always important to Encourage to express freely as well and don’t forget to Lead them to the culture of reading.

Aiko and Taro Playhouse has wide range of books and kids can learn around 300 books per year once they grasp the techniques of reading.

I highly recommend to parents who want their children to be exposed to educational activities especially pre-nursery stage and you will never know what interests can be unlocked from your children. You can call 8727 898 and it’s located opposite Aneka Rasa Restaurant at Unit 4, 1st Floor Block C, Bangunan BPD Hj Md Yusof, Kg Kiulap. You can also follow them on their Facebook Page and instagram @aikoandtaro for updates.


An educational activities for the kids

Learning at the same time

Plenty of story books to catch interest of the kids

Do get the FEEL. Do click image to enter Facebook Page.

The map


Double Tuesday & Thursday 

Enuf said. Good one, Pizza Hut Brunei. Double the smiles.



FitFlop SS15 Part I

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


FitFlop SS15 Collection 

The amazing launch of the Spring/Summer 2015 (SS15) collection at Amorita Resort, Bohol, the Philippines

[Late post]: I’ve been busy recovering from my lack of sleep due to the Chinese New Year visits. I still have pending stories and today I’m gonna talk about FitFlop. Yes, FitFlop. I recently was invited to the Philippines for a media coverage for the launch campaign of the FitFlop SS15 collection at Bohol Island, the Philippines. I remember covering a shoe event in Malaysia a few years ago but I must say this private small event had more of an impact to me especially if it just relates to footwear.

FitFlop Philippines hosted delegates of the media from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and their local media who had the privileged to see some of the 300 new designs for the FitFlop SS15 collection. During the 2 day event, we were educated on the different types of FitFlop that will be in the market. I’m not sure when the Spring Summer 15 collection will reach Brunei market but should be in May or June if I’m not mistaken.

I didn’t know much about FitFlop but I know my mom is a huge fan of FitFlop especially when she shops at Metro, Paragon, Singapore. But I never knew what is so good about them until I saw Jill Coglan’s quick introduction about FitFlop. She is the Global Sourcing & Product Development Director at FitFlop Asia. I shall revealed more of her drive for FitFlop in my next post. She has been in this field of shoe line for 24 years and only 3 years in FitFlop. She is one of the reasons why FitFlop has been so successful in Asia.

The Indigo from the SS15 Collection. Targeting more of the youthful users.

The media from Indonesia

Joill Colgan, Global Sourcing & Product Development Director at FitFlop Asia with the host Stephanie Henares

The range of Indigo FitFlops being worn

One of the models being photographed wearing an Indigo collection from FitFlop

Photo opportunity with a FitFlop model

So what’s so special about FitFlop? Well, they have a strong trademark where the footwear boasts MICROWOBBLEBOARD™ which is a triple density midsole. It’s just pure comfortable and I owned two now courtesy of FitFlop but sadly not many range for men since the brand suits more for the female gender. Now FitFlop has a great brand positioning which is “WEAR THE SHOES. RULE THE WORLD” and it’s no surprise that the brand has sold more than 20 million pairs.

The Spring/Summer 2015 collection (SS15) is all about looking good and feeling good. Among the 300 designs, this season includes the all-new SuperJelly™ sandals (slightly cheaper than the normal ones) which makes use of a trademark waterproof material made stylish in a variety of vibrant toe-thong designs, neutral slides or the multi-strap twist design. Ah, I’m typing this I know so much about FitFlop *lol* Yes, it’s always interesting to learn in-depth of a footwear that focuses more on my gender counterpart.

While staying at Amorita Resort, Bohol, the Philippines, the media was fortunate to see the four different types of collection being showcased. There are the Indigo, Lustre, Garigue and Tera Nova collection. I shall display more of the collections as well on my next post together with my exclusive interview with Jill Coglan.

For your info, FitFlop started in 2006 and founded by Marcia Kilgore. The brand has grown into new heights and its mission is simple – to create the most comfortable footwear in the world. Only in 2014, FitFlop has made its way to the Brunei market and selling quite well in Hua Ho Departmental store. I would like to thank FitFlop Philippines and Hua Ho Manggis for giving me this opportunity to cover the SS15 media launch in Bohol, the Philippines.


Nice beach called Alona at Amorita Resort, Bohol

Trying out my new FitFlop sandals

The showcase of the Lustre Collection from FitFlop

It was a white theme event

The models showcasing the Lustre collection of FitFlop

With the Indonesian media mostly from magazines

Azli Azney of The Brunei Times and Jas Gill, Director of Mcgill Marketing Pte Ltd (distributor of FitFlop to Brunei)




Girl power

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


A healthier lifestyle 

Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah the Royal Patron for International School Brunie’s Borneo Global Issues Conference with the deputy ministers from Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and Education, the management, the Executive Principal of ISB, the Secretaries-General for BGIC and representatives from the local participating schools of BGIC 2015

After two years of hiatus, the ISB’s Borneo Global Issues Conference is back but sadly there were no international school involved as compared to previous years. Nonetheless this will give more opportunities for the local students to be involved with the current issues facing around the world.

the 11th Borneo Global Issues Conference (BGIC) at the International Convenction Centre (ICC) was graced by Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah the Royal Patron for BGIC. The theme for this year is to “Combat World Diseases” and Her Royal Highness urged our Brunei youth to take a healthier lifestyle and hopefully it will reduce the demands on the healthcare system. Her Royal Highness also stated how information has become more accessible to the youth through internet for them to learn of diseases such as Avian Influenza, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and the newly known Ebola.

Her Royal Highness presented a mock cheque on behalf of ISB to the JUMP! Foundation, a non-profit youth empowerment organization and it was received by Tara Yip-Bannicq of UNICEF Haiti and the JUMP! Foundation.

The event ran for four days and today is the final day of BGIC. The only surprise was the non appearance from the Ministry of Health as this theme relates to health.


Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah in the group photo

Her Royal Highness handing out certificate of participation to a student representative

Her Royal Highness speaking to Beatrice, one of the Secretaries-General of BGIC

Her Royal Highness handing out certificate of participation to a student representative

Her Royal Highness attending the opening of BGIC

Her Royal Highness handing out a mock cheque to Tara Yip-Bannicq of UNICEF Haiti and the JUMP! Foundation


Tara’s presentation

The regular invited guests of BGIC

The welcoming party

It was a pleasure to have met Tara and apparently she was a classmate of my friend from Brunei. What a small world!



IWD Forum 

Happening later 9am, 9th March at Mabobai Shopping Complex


Reuben to represent Brunei 

Reuben Chin to carry the torch for Brunei Area K6 in Labuan end of March. His journey begins here after winning both International Speech Contest and Table Topics Contest last night. He won’t be limiting his challenges and bro, you have control. Congratulations yesterday. More pictures to follow




No strings on me

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Bollhasan wins grand prize 

Bollhasan Mahadi the grand winner who will fly to Dubai with Hitesh Ramesh Bhawnani, Director of YMRM Galleria and Narrender JB, Managing Director of YMRM Galleria

YMRM Galleria held the draw for their Shop and Win lucky draw recently at their flagship premises in Tungku Link. The Shop and Win promotion began on December 19 last year and concluded recently on February 20. The entries were drawn by customers of the outlet and members of the local media.

The grand prize winner for a Trip for Two to Dubai was Bollhasan Mahadi from Rimba, Gadong, who was represented by his children, as he received the call while he was away in Miri, Sarawak.

 Nur Dini Liyana Hj Jali, the second prize lucky winner, received an iPhone 6s. Meanwhile, third prize winner Dr Joel Moncherry received an iPhone 6 while Hjh Zatul Hijanah Hj Musa went home with Samsung Note 4 as the fourth prize lucky winner. There were 15 additional shopping vouchers as consolation prizes. Present to hand over the prizes were the Director of YMRM Galleria, Hitesh Ramesh Bhawnani, Managing Director of YMRM Galleria, Narrender JB and Director of Public Relations of YMRM Galleria, Abdul Hamid Abas.

The YMRM Shop and Win promotion was held for over two months and ended right after the end of Brunei Salebration.


During the draw last Sunday

During the draw last Sunday

Abdul Hamid Abas, Narrender JB and Hitesh Ramesh Bhawnani

Nur Dini Liyana Jali winning an iPhone 6s. Image courtesy of Raghadah Agus of The Brunei Times.


A chance of a lifetime 


Can you take the heat?


It was close yet so far. Thanis Lim, our renown Brunei food blogger, was given the chance to be part of the MasterChef ASIA but he had to turn it down due to work commitments. However, the options are now open to you if you are interested to be part of MasterChef ASIA. The great thing is that you don’t have to be an expert in cooking and it’s only open to 18 years and above. Just make sure you don’t have a diploma or degree from a culinary school.

Do check out their website for details. Do you have what it takes to be the first ever MasterChef ASIA? It will be nice to see a Bruneian representative in this show.


Click image to find out more

Check out the requirements and looks like we Bruneians are eligible to join


Rent a dress 

Now you rent dresses instead of investing in them. Only at Divina.

Divina Brunei Sdn Bhd has provided a better solution where now you can easily rent the dresses (for a minimum of 4 days). This means you won’t have to fork out unnecessary for a dress that your children will hardly wear. The dresses are also suitable for special occasions such as weddings especially for the flower girls.
If parents want to have a special theme birthdays for their children, this is a great idea for others to rent to fit to the respective themes.


They also have dresses of Elsa and Anna from Frozen

They even have a baby version of Elsa

Divina Brunei Sdn Bhd also rents out accessories such as hair veil, tiara, hair accessories. For those who want packages, Divina has different packages. Refer below for details.

Premium Set 1 $48

1 Dress, 1 Hair Accessory, 1 Cardigan/Shawl, 1 Hair Veil, 1 Petticoat

Premium Set 2 $88

2 Dress, 2 Hair Accessories, 2 Cardigans/Shawls, 2 Hair Veils, 2 Petticoats

Premium Set 3 $168

4 Dress, 4 Hair Accessories, 4 Cardigans/Shawls, 4 Hair Veils, 4 Petticoats

Premium Set 4 $228

6 Dress, 6 Hair Accessories, 6 Cardigans/Shawls, 6 Hair Veils, 6 Petticoats

Divina Brunei Sdn Bhd closes every Monday. Otherwise the business is open daily from 10am to 6pm. It is located at Unit 4, 1st Floor, Bangunan Hj Hassan Abdullah, Spg 32 Kg Menglait, Jalan Gadong. You can check out their Facebook page or call 223 0759 or 872 2028.


Some of the dresses for rent

Some of the dresses for rent

Hair accessories also for rent

At Divina

Location of Divina



We are counting on you

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Late Post 

With my toastmasters buddies Supatra Lee and Jason Koo during the 31st National Day celebration at Taman SOAS

Generasi Berwawasan. That’s the theme this year’s National Day, the 31st for Brunei Darussalam. I attended the parade once again at the Taman SOAS. As usual, I woke up slightly late but still managed to catch the marching parade. I caught the boat from Batu Satu and had a drop off at Yayasan area. It seems I have finally found a solution to parking woes should there be a Royal event at Taman SOAS. Otherwise, I would have to find parking at a distance which requires a lot of walking to the event at Taman SOAS. So if you are planning to cut short your trip to town especially events like His Majesty’s birthday or National Day, use the boat. It will save you all the inconvenience.

Almost 30,000 people were involved in the National Day celebration and one great thing about our community is that we are united as a country. Brunei has grown from strength to strength and it boils down to the leadership of His Majesty the Sultan. This year, the National Day logo is a shape of a blossom-flower which represents the country’s vision as a Zikir nation and also supporting and upholding His Majesty’s titan towards achieving 2035 vision.

Generasi Berwasan which means “Generation With a Vision” represents greatness and patriotic values of our youths and they will help to achieve Brunei’s Vision 2035.


























My thoughts of Brunei: Though many has showed their complains about restrictions such as entertainment in Brunei, I’m still proud of the country because of its peacefulness. The implementation of the Syariah Law last year may have installed fear and some opted to reside outside Brunei. It has been a year since the implementation but business (and life) goes on like normal. The only strange outcome from my findings is that small petty crimes seemed to be on the rise as I kept reading the local newspaper every now and then.

Oil prices have dropped significantly worldwide and it will definitely affect Brunei in a long run if oil prices keep dropping. With the current Vision 2035, it is still a long way to go and we shouldn’t simply rely on oil and gas for economy growth. Unemployment among the youth seems to be on a slight increase, reading from the papers a few weeks ago. With the upcoming LegCo happening today, we will see what issues are being addressed and how the Ministers of the respective Cabinets respond to the issues being raised.

Nonetheless there are so many great things to appreciate about Brunei. We have an awesome, popular iconic figure of Brunei – His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei. We don have to pay taxes especially income tax. Education and health is free. Traffic congestion is minimal. Cost of living is cheaper compared to regional countries. Petrol is still subsidized by the Brunei Government. Brunei is a very family oriented society and high tendency parents will pick their children from school during lunch hours.

We live in a laid back community and I have foreign clients who commented similar accounts as well. My foreigner friends are used to the fast paced environment and they said the slow pace in Brunei has its ups and downs. For the past two years, we have been experiencing new franchisees such as Starbucks and Burger King to name a few and more Bruneians are beginning to grasp the concept of franchises.

I could go on and on. Let’s just stop here for now. It is time for the youth to step up and contribute to our country in achieving His Majesty’s Vision of 2035.















March 2015
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