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Posts Tagged ‘bsp’

14
Mar

Distractions, distractions

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News

 

Change is the only constant 
 

Being slow is the only constant too. That’s how I feel lately. Things are just heading at a slow pace. The only difference is when I travel. Being away in a short span of time gives me a sense of excitement and thrill. Now I’m back in Brunei, it’s back to square one. I can feel it. The worrying signs, perhaps, of what’s in store for the country (economically). The headlines in the local media hasn’t help either but it’s good thing that it’s being identified because we cannot simply ignore it. It’s about time we step and see what we can do for the country in times of troubles.

I have two mutual friends who sought for help to see if I could connect them to the relevant authorities with regards to their termination of contracts. In recent headlines, it was stated that a major company (government linked) are carrying out “redundancy exercise” to cut costs and reducing “non-essential staff”. Of course, what we read in headlines will spark that fear that haven’t been teased for a very long, long time. We were in the comfort zone and now we are slowly getting a taste of reality checks.

Now with the ongoing LegCo, it’s an indication where our country will be heading for the next year or so, in reaching the Vision 2035 (which is in 19 years’ time). It was noted that government spending will be reduced in times of lower revenues and we will still be running in a deficit.

I still see hope in this country and I trust in the Brunei Government in overcoming the challenges. The transitional period will take some time but it’s a good start. The relevant government agencies have been pro-active in creating new bodies to see how Brunei can diversify and get out of the mentality of heavily depending on oil and gas as our revenue stream for the Brunei economy.

I’ve seen new bodies with government support being created such as DARe (Darussalam Enterprise), a statutory body that will help to empower local entrepreneurs in contributing to the local economy. The newly established is recognized in the LegCo recently and it is spearheaded by the Minister of Energy and Industry Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar. DARe recently held a dialogue with local e-vendors in terms of helping them to set up a physical store and also issues with labour quotas and so on. With this guidance, it will hope to see how the e-vendors grow and create a more business friendly environment for a win-win situation.


Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar, Minister of Energy and Industry, chairman of the board for Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) with other committee having a conversation with the e-vendors held at Design & Technology Building (opposite iCentre) last week. You can even visit their Business Support centre every Monday to Friday or call/sms via 836 3442. Image courtesy of @govbn
 

 

  
 

What happened lately? 
 


The winner of the Mitsubishi Lancer 1.6 Auto, Mah Wai Keun (left), as part of the “The Big Shopping Win”, a collaboration between Baiduri Bank and Hua Ho. Presenting the mock key were Michelle Lo (center), Manager of Card Brand Relationship & Business Banking Support and Lau Soon Lin, Director of Hua Ho. The event was held at Hua Ho Kiulap yesterday. You can website Baiduri website by clicking the image or you can download “Baiduri Deals” on your smartphone or follow their Facebook or IG @baiduribank. Image courtesy of Adib Noor of The Brunei Times.
 


Costume party at a friend’s place for Himari and Takumi’s farewell gathering. Both are my tennis buddies whom we trained under coach Aiman. It was also great to see Mr. Okochi after such a very long time. Thanks for the hospitality and great food.
 


My room mate for the past three nights at Taipei for our @mrbrownbrunei coverage trip with the winners of the Mr. Brown contest. We had this mini competition between us on making fun of each other on social media. It seems I’m dominating so far but we won’t have more opportunities until our next trip perhaps. Thank you, Aiking Sdn Bhd on giving us the opportunity to do coverage on the trip to Taiwan.
 


The Francophonie Week 2016 kicked off last Saturday and it will be ongoing for another week. Many events and activities to look forward too. This image was taken during the screening of the French movie “Win Win” at Taman Jubilee. The event is organised by Alliance Française and The Collective Arts Event. Click image to know more what’s in store for Francophonie Week 2016
 


The past week or so, I’ve been amazed with the stories that are being shared by my friends in their toastmasters journey. Many surprises in terms of content and I’m truly amazed by the growth of my friends. I’m still impressed with the ending of the “Helping Hand” story. Very impactful and witty. Congratulations to the winners of the UBD Toastmasters Club contest yesterday. Nice shot too, Sandy 😀
 


Last week, Inspire Magazine launched a new website to provide a better access to their stories. Back then, there were only magazines and PDF formats. This is a great step to reach more readers globally as well. Shaun Hoon (2nd from left), founder of Inspire Magazine, with his team during the launch of the website. You can visit www.yesinpire.com to access Inspire or click on the image. Image courtesy of Shaun Hoon.
 

 

  
 

03
Mar

Chapter 1

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News

 

BAB appreciation dinner 
 


Lim Yu Kwang, Honorary Secretary & Treasurer of The Brunei Association of Banks (BAB) and Country Head & General Manager of Malayan Banking, Abdul Razak bin Abdul Malek, Vice Chairman of BAB and Senior Vice President & General Manager of United Overseas Bank, Yang Mulia Yusuf Hj Abd Rahman, Managing Director of Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) as the guest of honour and Pierre Imhof, incoming Chairman of BAB and Chief Executive Officer of Baiduri Bank during a token of appreciation to the guest of honour at Mutiara Ballroom, Radisson Hotel last night
 


Guest of honour in his welcoming remarks
 

I didn’t know that The Brunei Association of Banks (BAB) has been around for decades. It only has become more known to public in the past few years. The committee compromises of the chairperson, vice-chairperson and treasurer cum secretary. Last night was the first of an appreciation dinner to acknowledge and appreciate all the initiatives and contribution made by the BAB members in developing Brunei’s banking industry and also to help to attain the goals leading to Vision 2035.

The guest of honour was Yang Mulia Yusuf Hj Abd Rahman, Managing Director of Autoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD). For your info, AMBD is regard as Brunei’s financial driving force. It helps to regulate and supervise financial institutions such as BIBD, HSBC, Baiduri Bank, TAIB and so on. That’s just one of its roles but I won’t go into details on it but if you are keen to know more, you can read here for their objectives. Hence it’s important the relationship between AMBD and BAB remain strong.

Also in attendance were senior officials from AMBD and members of BAB.

Yang Mulia Awang Yusuf shared on his welcome remarks on the priorities of AMBD in the last five years and he commended on the strong commitment and support from the banking industry in moving towards Vision 2035 aspirations. He further added, the financial sector, is very important in spearing the domestic economy of Brunei to the target of 8% of financial sector contribution to GDP. He urged the banking sector to be more proactive in creating new opportunities to lead to diversification and less reliance on the oil and gas sector.

The appreciation dinner also acknowledged both outgoing and incoming Chairman of BAB. Rino Donosepoetro, outgoing Chairman of BAB and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, gave his welcoming remarks and he was full of gratitude to the AMBD and members of BAB for the level of collaboration and cooperation to promote the national banking industry. He acknowledged how the business environment has changed due to the changes in oil prices, leading to the opportunities of diversification and acceleration of SME development and FDI and this is how the banking industry can help existing and new players in the SME sector and also with the involvement of ASEAN Banking Association.

Pierre Imhof, incoming Chairman of BAB and CEO of Baiduri Bank, appreciated the guest of honour and AMBD senior officials for their presence last night at Radisson Hotel. He hopes on the good level of cooperation between BAB and AMBD and expressed the strong commitment by BAB to continue to work closely with AMBD in the coming years.

Thank you, BAB, for invitation to cover the appreciation dinner. I’m honoured and it’s a great gesture to have members of BAB and AMBD attending the dinner last night to foster better relations and understanding among one another. Let’s hope for a better path in achieving our Vision 2035.

 


The invited guests consisting of members of BAB and senior officials of AMBD
 


Rino Donosepoetro, outgoing Chairman of BAB and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank
 


Pierre Imhof, incoming Chairman of BAB and CEO of Baiduri Bank
 


Todd Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking
 


Representatives from AMBD and members of BAB
 

  
 

 

Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 
 


Group photo at Brunei International Airport before the Brunei delegates of Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 2016 headed off to Manila last Tuesday. Image courtesy of Azhar Ismat, University Liaison Officer, UBD.
 

Two teams of 13 students flew to the Philippines yesterday to compete in the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia (SEMA) 2016.

From March 3 to March 6, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB) will be competing against more than 100 teams at Luneta Park, Manila in a competition that challenges student teams around the world to design, build and test ultra energy-efficient vehicles.

UBD which has competed since 2011 will be represented by UBD GENNEXT Pejuang in two categories, the Urban Concept Category and Prototype Hydrogen Fuel Cell category.

Meanwhile ITB competing for the first time will be represented by Team ONE-U in the Prototype Battery Electric Vehicle Category.

Last year, UBD placed third in the Prototype Hydrogen Fuel Cell category achieving a distance of 186.8 kilometres on one cubic metre of hydrogen.
“We’re thinking of doubling the range,” said Md Khairul Zhafri Hj Md Noor, a student from the Faculty of Science and Team Manager for UBD GENNEXT Pejuang.

Md Khairul Zhafri Hj Md Noor, said that he was confident as his team has done a lot of research and improvement to their prototype in preparation for the competition but remains wary as there are now more teams competing in the same category.

 


One of the teams representing Brunei in the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia (SEMA) 2016. Image courtesy of Julius Hong of The Brunei Times.
 

NurBasitah Raduan, a student from Faculty of Engineering and team manager for Team ONE-U said that they have been working on their vehicle for one year as it was their final year project last year.

She added that one of the challenges that they faced was the delay in receiving parts which gave them less time to build and test drive their vehicle.
“We don’t know what to expect yet as this is our first time joining the competition so it’s going to be a challenging event but the most important thing is that we deliver our best and making sure that we gain as much experience that we can,” said NurBasitah adding that the experience they bring may help create interests and inspire fellow students to participate in future competitions as well.

“We have gain a lot of skills such as communications, teamwork, integrated planning and have applied those skills to this project,” said NurBasitah.
“It has been hectic but it’s all worth info,” added NurBasitah.

Present during the send-off were UBD Vice Chancellor Datin Dr Dayang Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdul Aziz, Dean of Faculty of Integrated Technologies, UBD Pg Dr Iskandar Pg Hj Petra, ITB Vice Chancellor Associate Professor Dr Hjh Zohrah Hj Sulaiman, ITB Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic) Pg Dr Hj Mohd Esa Al-Islam Pg Hj Md Yunus.

Also in attendance were Pg Shamhary Pg Dato Paduka Hj Mustapha, managing director of Brunei Shell Marketing (BSM), Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) Deputy Managing Director Hj Kamaluddin Hj Bungsu, BSP’s Communication and External Affairs Manager Hj Amir Hamzah Hj Hanafi, representatives from BSM and BSP as well as other sponsors supporting both institutions. Text courtesy of Julius Hong of The Brunei Times.

 


As of today 3rd March,the students are preparing for technical inspections at the paddocks in Luneta Park, Manila. Follow their journey and updates through @ubdsem and @itb.sem on Instagram
 


UND GEnNEXT Pejuang’s driver at Shell Eco-Marathon Asia 2016, Nur Amirah Hj Salamat – studying Professional Communication & the Media.
 


ITB Pahlawan II Driver, Lester Ong Kai Xiang, studying HND in Mechanical Engineering, ITB.
 

 

  
 

29
Sep

Lesson learnt

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News

 

The law is the law 
 

 

The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) yesterday announced the introduction of new corruption laws to address abuse of power and misconduct in public office.

The new laws will allow legal action to be taken against civil servants who fail to carry out their duties to a “high ethical standard”, said the AGC in a statement issued yesterday.

Following extensive discussions between the AGC and the Anti-Corruption Bureau, several amendments have been made to the Prevention of Corruption Act.

New offences have been included in the legislation, criminalising the use of public funds for private purposes; giving undue preferential treatment; misuse of information acquired during the course of duty; and allowing private interests to come into conflict with public duties.

The legislation also states that any public officer who seeks to interfere or influence the “appointment, promotion, suspension, demotion or dismissal” of any other public official, can be prosecuted under the new laws.

Similarly, any civil servant who demonstrates “willful misconduct or neglect of duty” to a degree which amounts to abuse of public trust, is considered guilty of an offence.

The punishment for all the new corruption offences is seven years’ jail and a $30,000 fine.

The AGC added that offences can be committed without the receipt of gratification or monetary benefit.

The legal definition of “public body” has also been changed in the legislation, to include government-linked companies and statutory bodies, such as the Brunei Economic Development Board, Brunei Shell Joint Ventures, Royal Brunei airlines, among others.

The new laws came after His Majesty, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, lambasted police for corrupt practices last March.

“The main purpose of the amendment is to address the concern of His Majesty… during a working visit (paid to the) Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) Headquarters… in respect of corruption in the form of abuse of powers for personal interest,” said the AGC.
During the visit, His Majesty cited several cases of police corruption, including the case of a high-ranking police officer accused of accepting a luxury car from a convicted criminal in exchange for helping him cross the border illegally.

In a fiery address to police officers, the monarch accused RBPF personnel of “elements of lawlessness” such as involvement in gambling, drinking and smuggling banned goods, as well taking bribes to “look the other way”. Text courtesy of Quratul-Ain Bandial of The Brunei Times.

 

  
 

Good luck, scholars 
 


Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar with senior management of Brunei Shell Joint Venture and the 42 feted BSJV scholars
 

 

Late post: Three weeks ago, the Brunei Shell Joint Venture (BSJV) Companies officially awarded scholarships to 42 students, marking the occasion with a signing ceremony at the Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club.

The guest of honour was the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar. Also present was the Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd (BSP), Andrew Faulkner.

The 42 scholarship students will be embarking on their undergraduate courses, with disciplines ranging from engineering to science. In addition, two BSJV scholars will be continuing their studies and undertaking post graduate programmers in their respective vocations.

Some of the students will be enrolling at Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB), while the rest will be enrolling in courses in Australia and the United Kingdom.

As a BSJV statement reads, “The students have undergone a rigorous assessment process to ensure they meet the company’s criteria and subsequently identified as best in class amongst their peers.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event also saw recognition given to 10 BSJV scholars who successfully completed their degree programme with First Class Honours.

In a speech yesterday, the Deputy Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum Co Sdn Bhd, Haji Kamaludin bin Haji Bungsu said the BSJV scholarship programme started decades ago, highlighting that the programme is an important and big investment for the company.

“By investing in youths, we hope to answer the call of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to bolster the economy and give locals the opportunity to become workers and leaders,” he said.

Good luck to all the scholars and I believe they all have started their journey as BSP scholars by now. Text courtesy of Danial Norjidi of Borneo Bulletin.

 

  
Sneaks of the new Peugeot
 


The Peugeot 2008 with the sales team from Peugeot Brunei and members of the press
 

Recently we had a sneak preview of the latest edition of Peugeot that will enter the Brunei market pretty soon. It was a concept car back in 2009 in one of the the motor show and now it has become a reality. The media was able to get a sneak peak of the Peugeot’s new urban 2008 crossover at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Gadong.

What I love about the Peugeot 2008 is the exterior design and it has both a characteristic of a hatchback and an SUV. The interior is pretty impressive as well. I won’t spare much details as yet but you will be able to ask more information at Peugeot office at Kiarong. I believe this car will be a hit. I’m not quite sure of the price just yet as they are pretty tight lipped about it but I won’t be surprised if it will be affordable.

I will update once the Peugeot 2008 crossover will be available in Brunei market. You can follow their Facebook Page for updates too.

 


We caught a few videos on what the Peugeot 2008 is capable of and the Peugeot 2008 DKR won a one-two finish at the China Silk Road Rally
 


The beautifully crafted Peugeot 2008
 


The interior of the 2008
 

 

 

  
Markus Dybwad impresses 
 

Recently we had the chance to taste Markus Dybwad’s cooking on Snofood products (food items that are supplied to Excapade). For your info, Markus Dybwad is a popular culinary consultant and he is Norwegian. So he prepared some great dishes for the invited guests and a big thank you to the Snofood management for the invitation. I was quite impressed with the food presented. Just to let you know that the food you dine at Excapade is mostly from Snofood.


Michael Chong, owner of Snofood (2nd from left) with his invited guests at the standing cocktail session hosted by Snofood management
 


Markus Dybwad from Norway show his cooking skills and tasted pretty good too
 

 

 

 

 

 

  
 

21
Sep

Wake up call

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News

 

Brunei Travel Fair
 


Mark your dates this weekend and plan your travels 😀
 

 

 

The cracks are showing
 

[Edited]: Is Brunei going through a recession? It’s still early days to say for that but I know that some of my friends’ businesses are feeling the pinch(es). These are just from my observations as well as business environment shared by my peers. Let’s not forget some of the outside factors as well as policies that can influence the Brunei economy.

Let’s lay down some scenarios here from my knowledge. I know there could be more (factors) but I will just based them on my findings. First is the falling of oil prices. I remember once a top senior official said that such fluctuating prices won’t affect the Brunei economy earlier this year. However, I’m pretty sure it did (affect) in a long run as oil prices hasn’t been encouraging and it has a detrimental effect on the Brunei economy. Furthermore, at some point, Brunei’s export on crude and oil hasn’t been blossoming like the old days. Have the oil prices affected oil production in Brunei? Earlier this year, it was reported that Brunei’s exports went down by 39% (source: Department of Economic Planning and Development (JPKE).

 

 

It’s no big surprise that oil prices is a big factor here (weaker demand, higher supply). Imagine the previous year that the price of oil was at least USD $113 per barrel and now it’s averaging at USD $50 per barrel. It was also reported in Reuters that despite the improvement in prices, worldwide production won’t be producing last much as it’s “uneconomical” if oil prices are at USD $50 or below.

With low demand for export and also lower oil prices, this will mean that money flowing into the Sultanate will be lower than usual. This would also mean less activities or projects coming from Brunei Shell Joint Ventures or any companies relating to Brunei Shell.

Early in March 2015 during the Legislative Council, the Ministry of Finance that Brunei will be in the deficit in terms of spending (BND 1.58 billion) and this is related to the fall in oil prices. Did you know that 90% of the export of Brunei is oil and gas? So this is what we always mean when we say that we are relying too much on oil and gas.

 

Now I have touched on oil prices. How about other factors? One thing that has affected Brunei is the recent policy introduced by Authoriti Monetari Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) – the total debt service ratio or loan cap (at 60 per cent for those earning a minimum net salary of $1,750). So who will be affected because of this policy? Not the consumers but the car dealers as sales has seen a drop of at least 15% and it keeps dropping every month ever since the introduction of the loan cap in June 2015.

If the car dealers are affected, this would also affect the finance companies such as Baiduri Bank and BIBD At-tamwil who finance the hire purchase of the cars. NBT (Toyota) used to sell an average of 300 units every month but recently the figures have gone below 200 units. Back in 2012, at one stage, cars sold in a month would break the 1,500 mark but recently it has lesser numbers (1,137 cars in July 2015 and 1,005 cars in August 2015). Last weekend, I even bumped into an NBT roadshow at The Mall (which is quite rare) and one of the representatives said that business wasn’t good so they needed to do more roadshow and promotion.

Yes, the business side of the automotive industry is feeling the pinch but the idea of the policy by AMBD is to ensure that the residents of Brunei will have enough savings and finances instead of using their disposable income for loan repayments. With the current situation of oil prices, such move (of the policy) has not benefited the local economy as loans are hard to come by especially those in the lower tier income group. In a long run, the TDSR or loan cap will be good for the country as people will have more disposable income than rather ending up using majority of their salaries to pay off loans. Remember the credit card policy? That really worked well, right? and this shouldn’t be a problem. It will just take time to adjust to the new financial environment. Car dealers will have to come up with better deals or promotions just like how Boustead are currently executing with their promotions with Suzuki and Nissan (tablets and smartphones respectively) to attract customers.

 

Another theory that cannot be discounted is the fact that the Malaysian ringgit has caught interest of Bruneians. The exchange rate now is BND 1 to RM 3 which is a real steal for us. For many Bruneians, Miri is still considered a shopping paradise. Just imagine this – It was reported that over two million arrivals from Brunei to Miri alone in 2013. I’m pretty sure the statistics will be even more in Year 2015 with the current weak currency of the Ringgit. Shopping will be cheaper and they will even buy their groceries across the border as it’s a cost saving measure.

So who are at the losing end? Of course, our local retailers and the department store owners. I interviewed two sources on how the supermarket business in Kuala Belait and Bandar and both gave similar responses – “people prefer shopping and spending across the border.” One commented that usually after Hari Raya season, their supermarket business is slower but this year, it’s even quieter and slower than last year. Even the extension of the opening hours across the border is not helping the Brunei economy.

Now that I have laid some of my findings based on reports and interviews, it’s not too premature to say that Brunei is undergoing a small recession – budget cuts, deficits, lower car sales and lower revenue in local supermarket as some of the effects.

 

Need action, less talking: I have attended many lectures, talks, keynote addresses, you name it,  for the past 10 years and the same topic remains – “Diversification” and we all have become accustomed to the over-abused word but it has only become a mere phrase than a means to an end. From the progress of Brunei, we have taken baby steps to diversify by creating new industries – pharmaceutical, the halal brand and also the Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals and Itochu Corporation from Japan for the methanol plant at the Sg Liang Industrial Park (SPARK). These are all good signs to come as it creates more job employment.

Even earlier this year, Brunei Economic Development Board and South Korean company DongYang GangChul, said that the BND 107 million project at the Bukit Panggal Industrial Park in Tutong will be a major boost to Brunei’s economy. The idea is the plant will produce billet and aluminium extrusion and export back to Sout Korea. I’m not really sure what are the status of this project as I have not seen any updates.

My biggest curiousity is the Pulau Muara Besar (PMB) project. There have been many mentions of the PMB project but as far as I know there is very little happening as the big players such as Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd, a petrochemical firm, will only begin their refinery operations by early 2017. Of course, this is no easy project and it requires intensive homework and making sure all the criteria are met. This is perhaps the biggest project for the Brunei economy as the refinery will cost at least BND 4 billion. But now it’s more of a waiting game until early 2017.

From the looks of it, Brunei needs a good number of Foreign Direct Investment, just similarly like Hengyi Industries. It’s never an easy task to bring foreign investors to pump in money into the economy. I believe that Brunei is a very ideal hub for this kind of industries and of course, the foreigners will need our vote of confidence in order to succeed. The PMB project would have been talking point (with action) if nothing was delayed and the refinery plant up and running by now. Maybe I’m just tired listening to the same old phrase and the emphasis of “diversification”.

On a positive spin, what’s trending (and booming now) are the influx of food and beverage outlets such as Rack & Brew, The Library Cafe, Ner|Dee Cafe, Chatime and coming soon (end of the year), Cinnabon. If you are thinking of opening a business, then F&B is a better approach as we still have the culture to dine out or even limteh. And let’s not forget the upcoming travel fair by Royal Brunei and we Bruneians love to travel (so maybe, just maybe, people are saving to spend on traveling).

What’s my outlook on Brunei 2016? It’s hard to say. I just hope that we can help one another and let our egos down that Brunei needs a wake up call. Our voices can be a stimulus and hopefully the Government of Brunei and the private sector can work together to tackle a growing (bad) seed before it can turn to a plant.

This article doesn’t represent the opinions of others apart from my own. I typed this because I feel it’s very relevant to our community and I also want to help to contribute to the betterment of our Brunei economy. If you have any queries or comments, you can drop me an email ranoadidas gmail and I’m more than happy to hear from your end. Sources of facts: The Brunei Times.

 

 

19
Sep

The chase

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News

 

Beach Cleaning Campaign 

 


The smiling faces of the volunteers at the beach clean up this morning
 


I wonder how many tonnes were collected at all the five beaches

We have seen all these familiar contribution to the community of Brunei Darussalam and beach clean up is one of them. This morning, Brunei Shell Joint Venture Companies, Shell Deepwater Borneo (SDB) and Brunei Gas Carriers (BGC), ran a beach cleaning campaign at five beaches in Brunei and this is to commemorate the International Coastal Cleanup Day 2015 (ICC 2015).

The five beaches today were at Silver Jubilee Beach and Lumut in the Belait District, Telisai-Danau Beach in Tutong and finally Muara beach and Meragang beach in the Brunei-Muara District. For your info, this is the second year that they are running the beach clean-up campaign.

The objective of this campaign is to keep the ocean free from trash and this is one way to make the ocean more resilient. This campaign will also help to cultivate the spirit of volunteerism and also the mutual cooperation among staff, youth and members in the local communities.

For these efforts alone, we can see that the stakeholders involved are keen to promote Brunei’s environmental sustainability. For instance, Brunei Shell Petroleum’s support goes way back to 2007 where BSP partnered with the Government of Brunei for the groundbreaking, tri-country Heart of Borneo biodiversity conservation initiative. The current progress of the research projects includes the discovery of new endangered species and breeding areas.

Brunei LNG has also been involved in the environmental sustainability project such as dealing with the degradation of the peatlands in Lumut. The same goes to SDB where there is a partnership with the Biodiversity Research and Innovation Centre through the Marine Biodiversity Centre (Ministry of Primary and Industry Resources) and they will monitor to see if our marine biodiversity is well maintained.

Today at the Muara beach, they had 179 participants involved and present were the Royal Brunei Navy, Brunei-Muara District Office, Royal Brunei Police Force, Head of Village, Cosmopolitan College, BSP associates and BSM retailers.

The total number of people involved in the beach clean up was 758 people. Well done on the organizers. Images courtesy of BSP, BSM.

 


Let’s hope the young ones can shape the future of our environment especially at beaches
 


This looks like a bbq grill… tsk tsk
 


The volunteer sign up sheet and some educational tip to dispose rubbish
 

  

 

Have you Blended with the App? 
 


Search for Coffee Bean Brunei on Apple Store or Google Play
 


A souvenir for all the attendees at the launch of the Blended App yesterday at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (Mata-Mata outlet)
 

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, officially launched their “Coffee Bean Brunei App” on Friday, 18th September 2015 by having a two hour private app launch event for their merchant partners at their Supa Save, Mata Mata outlet. The “Coffee Bean Brunei” app introduces their digital lifestyle magazine, “Blended”. The event was officiated with surah Al-Fatihah by Mudim Haji Suhaili bin Haji Kalong.

At the beginning of the event, registered guests were given an iphone or Samsung bookmark that displayed the blended app with a limited edition blended badge. Guest were also treated to some finger food including the very popular mini magherita pizzas and tropical passion fruit tea.

 


Doa selamat and surah Al-Fatihah by Mudim Haji Suhaili bin Haji Kalong
 


Invited guests and partners of CBTL
 


Amy Cheong was the emcee for the day
 


Nice bookmarks from CBTL
 


You can get your digital loyalty card on their app. They even have a special promotion until the 2nd October
 

 

Amy Cheong, popularly known as DJ Amy from Pilihan FM hosted and presented the App. “Blended” allows users to search outlets nearest to them and gives them updates on the latest The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf promotions and news. Users will also have access to the local events and happenings in Brunei. The app also allows users to pick up to 6 lifestyle categories of their favourite topics, which gets updated on a daily basis. One of the main highlights of the App was the digital pink card. The Digital Pink Card allows the user to collect 1 e-stamp with every drink purchase. When users reach 12 e-stamps, the user is entitled to a free small size beverage.

Local entrepreneurs were also invited to the event to display their products. They included Mairgix Fitness Centre – the first calisthenics gym in Brunei, Lokalground which is a local clothing design store owned by 8 Entrepreneurs, DIG Records – a record player and vinyl store, WallAtLarge that provides photography, video prints services and Wood Work Kendamas, and NeoClassic Music School.

The TV and TV stands were also sponsored by D’Sunlit in support of the event. The app was created by a local based company HIVE Digital.

 


I kinda love this outlet and also their pizzas.. Must try
 


There’s even a menu guide in the app
 


Check out the merchant partners of CBTL
 


Representatives from Mairgix Fitness Centre and Lokalground
 

  
 

11
Sep

Snippets for the week

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News

 

Snippets of the week
 


Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Retired) Dato Seri Setia (Dr.) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy, the Energy Department, at the Prime Minister’s Office, as the guest of honour with the presence of Andrew Faulkner, Managing Director, Brunei Shell Petroleum, Haji Kamaludin Haji Bungsu, Deputy Managing Director and Human Resource Director, Brunei Shell Petroleum and this year’s BSJV scholars (42 of them) during the signing ceremony for the BSJV Scholarship Students 2015 at the Royal Berkshire Hall, Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club. I shall be posting more on this tomorrow.
 


This is a great shot of Datin Paduka Hjh Adina binti Othman in a go-kart taken by Media Permata. She recently handed prizes for the third series of the Brunei Darussalam Karting Championship which was held at Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium last Sunday.
 


The word got around that both Bruneians Hamsul Sulaiman and Ahmad Fathi Junaidi participated in the recent Swimrun World Championship in Sweden. It’s a duo team effort and this is tougher than the Ironman or Ultramarathon. They will have to run on a tough course that includes slippery rocks and swim to another island. The event is called ÖTILLÖ. However, despite their participation, the Brunei duo didn’t finish the course. Nonetheless it’s awesome for Bruneians to participate in this event and furthermore, both were featured in the Al Jazeera news as they were being interviewed.
 


TCY MOTORS as the local dealer for the Audi brand will once again organise its annual charity golf event, the 6th Audi quattro Cup Brunei 2015 from October 16 to 18 at the Royal Brunei Golf and Country Club, Jerudong. Winners of this year’s Brunei tournament will play at the World Final at the Cabo del Sol Ocean Course in Mexico. For more information, please visit Audi Kiarong showroom or call 2442333 ext 31 during office hours.
 


Citadel Alfaro, General Manager of Fitness Zone and Louis Loo Kee Lee from business development of Plus+ Magazine. It was a contract signing where Fitness Zone and Plus+ Magazine renewed their membership for the second year running. Well done, Loo. Image courtesy of Adib Noor of The Brunei Times.
 


Recently there was a photo shoot of the residents in Brunei Darussalam taken at Piccolo Cafe. They will be featured in the upcoming Plus+ Magazine soon.
 


Recently Wu Chun hosted local celebrities during a press conference for the upcoming High-Tea Amal Belaian Kasih which will feature the likes of Aziz Harun, Eia, Fakhrul Razi, Ju Ju, Hani S, Flora and Zoe. Tickets are priced at $100 per person or $1,000 per table (10 people). Tickets are available at all The Coffee Bean Brunei outlets and at Fitness Zone. The event will take place at Indera Samudra Grand Hall of The Empire Hotel & Country Club this Sunday from 2pm to 5pm. Image courtesy of Louis Loo.
 


KFC Brunei has launched its latest innovation – the new Super Jimat Box and Zinger Hot Box. The new KFC Super Jimat Box and Zinger HotBox will be on the menu permanently and is now available at all KFC restaurants in the country.
 


A picture taken during UBD’s 27th Convocation. More pictures to be published this weekend. Stay tune.
 


Proud to see my buddies – Gerald Goh, Julius Hong and Pranika Lama – graduating recently. As for Iskandar, he is part of the UBD Guilds so hence he was also wearing a robe :p
 


Izzah Jomari, Assistant Manager of Innovation and New Initiatives, Brunei Economic Development Board, Sabrina Shofry, Manager of Innovation and New Initiatives, Brunei Economic Development Board, and Azri Razak, Incubation Manager of iCentre, Brunei Economic Development Board during the launch of the 8th IGNITE Entrepreneurship Challenge at the Design & Technology Building, Anggrek Desa. This is the yearly business plan competition and there will be no students category. Hence only Open Category (1st prize BND 25,000) and International Category (1st prize BND 10,000). First submission of the executive summary will be 28th September. I shall be posting more on by Monday.
 


Bomi Oh was recently featured in the The Brunei Times for opening a new Korean convenient store, Hallyu Mart, at Batu Bersurat. She said that more stock will be coming in early October as the responses have been overwhelming. I’ve been addicted to the Paldo (barley) drink.
 


Collective Arts have been very busy lately and they created a cool theme party for my neighbour’s birthday party last Sunday. Hope you had a good one, Aman 😀
 


The Fruit Festival was a success at the Jerudong Park Playground. Image taken from JPCC Playground Facebook Page.
 


I miss you Atsuko. My high school best mate during our Geelong Grammar School days. I hope to see you perhaps in 2016 in Melbourne. It has been 15 years since we last met and this was our last photo taken together.
 


Like WWE would say – This is bad for business. Bruneians will shop more across border.
 


The Haunted Hospital at Times Square Shopping Centre until this Sunday
 


Are you ready to be entertained by them at the Haunted Hospital?
 


The Keynote for the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Apple TV and the powerful iPad Pro. My targets – iPhone 6s and Apple TV.
 


Some employers in the private sector are taking advantage of their workers through illegal practices that violate the Employment Order such as long working hours without overtime pay. Taken from The Brunei Times.
 


Known as the High Element and this was one of the activities as part of the Blue Bazaar organised by National Service Programme (PKBN). I saw a few brave kids that attempted this last weekend:D
 

 

14
Apr

Are you ready?

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News

 

RC F & RC 350 


The monster Lexus Sport Coupe RC F
 


The Lexus RC 350
 

Sorry for the late post. I recently test drove the latest Lexus sports coupes – RC F and the RC 350. I hardly driven a sport coupe and the new Lexus gave me a good impression especially the RC F. We were hosted by Muhammad Clovien Abdullah Timpoh, Marketing Manager of NBT.

Yes, the Lexus RC F is a beast machine. If you are hungry for power and speed, RC F delivers nothing short of it. The five-litre V8 engine delivers 470hp/7100 rpm of torque and I test drove at least 75% of its power capabilities behind the exit route from the Indera Samudra Grand Hall of The Empire Hotel & Country Club. It’s not just a fast car but also quite stable. There are many things to boast about the Lexus RC F but of course, the end of the day will be the money that you will need to fork out as it’s quite an expensive car.

The Lexus RC 350 is another Lexus luxury car and it’s the tamer version of the RC F. It is still powerful in the sense that it is powered by a 3.5 litre V6 Four Cam 24-valve engine. What I love about the Lexus RC 350 is the classy interior. I kinda like the wooden surface design on some of the interiors to give it a premium experience for the driver and passengers.

For more information on the latest RC models or to book for a test drive, head to the Lexus Showroom at KM4, Jalan Gadong or call 2448688.

 


The interior of the RC 350
 


The interior of the RC 350
 


The interior of the RC 350
 


The interior of the RC 350
 


The interior of the RC 350
 


The interior of the RC 350
 


The interior of the RC 350
 

 

  

Behind Bruhaha 
 

 

Del Goh of The Reel Show interviewing Zainal Bostaman, founder of Bruhaha Comedy. Catch another Bruhaha show this Saturday. Tickets are already available and I shall be posting on my IG for details pretty soon.

 

  
 

Royal celebration 

As part of the Royal Wedding celebration, the organising committee organised a series of cultural performances in the capital – parking area opposite of Royal Regalia Building and the Royal Wharf. I was fortunate enough to catch Brunei Shell Joint Venture Wedding Cultural performance and also bits of the Temburong district cultural performers. I believe tonight (Tuesday) is the final day of the so-called Perayaan in Bandar.

I won’t ramble much but here are some of the pictures I took last week.

 


Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Mohd Yasmin Hj Umar, Energy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, with Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Halbi Hj Md Yussof, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and the performers from BSP during the Brunei Shell Joint Venture Wedding Cultural performance
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

  

03
Mar

Busy is good

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News

 

A busy March 

The LegCo is coming. Mobile wars are heating up while AITI makes sure it’s a win-win situation for consumers! New rates of TelBru’s broadband testing the new waters. Another run (Tongkat Puith) happening this weekend. DPMM FC and also Brunei National Team will take sports headlines for the S•League and Brunei’s qualifying match against Taiwan. The Area K6 Contest to select the best toastmasters speaker from Brunei this Sunday. Poppins the Musical by Relentless Entertainment end of March. The upcoming International School Brunei (ISB) Borneo Global Issues Conference (BGIC) And of course, my pending stories to be posted on my blog. March, indeed, has become a busier month than I anticipated.

I’m still not sure if I will be flying to Singapore this month. But I definitely have two places to visit – Kuching and Labuan. Singapore will be in my pending list of destination for March. Then again, I will be heading to Lion City in April for Russell Peters’ gig. Will he impressed like before? My previous take of him in Notorious gig in Singapore was just okay. It’s never easy to be funny because it needs a lot of spontaneous creativity. I also have been attending Zainal Bostaman’s Bruhaha workshop, a local comedy workshop, that hopes to aspire that comedy is a social art and it can be learnt and practice. The workshops have been fruitful and last Sunday we saw a new batch of attendees and this shows that there are people out there who want to learn to be a “comic”. Good job, Zainal, and you have my support!

 


Zainal Bostaman, founder of Bruhaha Comedy, having his 2nd Bruhaha Comedy Workshop last Sunday
 

After missing out last year, ISB is back with their BGIC this weekend. I have always love how they run their show every year. This year there will 23 local schools participating and ISB had conducted two days of training by having simulation for the local students to be familiar with the conference. This concept is similar like the United Nations conference where representatives from each country will raise points, concerning issues faced by different countries and how they will come into a consensual solutions and agreements. This is a great platform for students to show their leadership skills. This year, the conference will be run by five experienced students, serving as the Secretaries-General; namely Dean Benavidez, Ha Kyeong Kim, Adam Busko, Marianne Laming, and Beatrice Horas. The main speakers for BGIC are Professor Dr. David Koh, Chair of Occupational Health and Medicine, PAP Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah, Institute of Health Science, Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Ms. Tara Yip-Bannicq, Programme Officer (Social Protection)/Resilience Focal Point, UNICEF Haiti.

 


The recent training session held at ISB
 

I shall be busy this week as I will be fine tuning, my script for my speech for the upcoming Area K6 Contest which will take place this Sunday. Basically this is a toastmasters competition among Brunei local clubs – four of them (OTTERS, Brunei Speakers’ Club, Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club and UBD Toastmasters Club). I did an OK job during the International Speech category but flunk in Table Topics as I went off topic talking about relationships and ports *lol* I have definitely improved as a speaker when I looked back at my Humuorous Speech Contest last year. Now I have been given a luck of entering Area level despite finishing 3rd.

Competition will be tougher this time with the likes of Melati Yusof, Reuben Chin and Pranika Lama. They are just hot favourites for me after listening to their speeches last week though I missed Mel’s and I was already impressed with her CC speeches during OTTERS meeting. Seasoned speakers including the likes of Chris Woo, Stuart Lee and Allen Ang have been playing the mentor roles in helping the contestants to reach their goals. So peeps, the time is real soon and it’s happening this Sunday at Multipurpose Hall, UBD at 1:30pm. Entry fee will be at $5 and you will witness all the awesome speakers from the local toastmasters club. The winner of each category – International Speech and Table Topics will represent in Division K Level in Labuan by end of March.

 


I finished 3rd in Brunei Speakers’ Club International Speech Contest. I am given another opportunity to represent Area Level to compete against the other winners in other clubs.
 


Relief to all the contestants after delivering their speeches
 


The heat is on!! Good luck to all contestants
 

SMARTER Brunei has located a new centre. Yes, it will be one time huge investment of BND 150,000 but it will be more cost effective in a long run. It was nice to see corporate companies and government bodies helping SMARTER for a good cause in helping building new classrooms for autistic students in Brunei. The President of SMARTER Brunei Malai Hj Abdullah shared that the SMARTER branch in Sengkurong will be relocated to Kg Mata-Mata once the renovation is completed (hopefully by May). With the new look and feel, SMARTER Brunei will be able to accommodate more students than before and reach the capacity of 140 students (morning and afternoon session). The private NGO has been struggling financially to cope with paying the teachers but Malai is always grateful that the teachers are tolerable and understanding of the current situation.

So far the classrooms have been sponsored by Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (five classrooms), D’Sunlit Sdn Bhd, Kingston Creamery and Beverage together with the LKY Charity for Autism, DST Communications Sdn Bhd and an anonymous donour. LSL Metal Sdn Bhd will be constructing work on the said centre. Malai Hj Abdullah said he is still open for donors for new establishment and it will also help to pay for the operating costs of running SMARTER Brunei. It’s never easy to run an NGO and this story of financial troubles has become a common issue in the media. I salute to Malai for his perseverance and dedication to make SMARTER Brunei a sustainable institution for the benefit of students.

 


Malcolm Lim, Managing Director of Kingston Creamery and Beverage, Malai Hj Abdullah, President of SMARTER Brunei, Low Ser Yew, Managing Director of LSL Metal Sdn Bhd and H Mohd Noor Hj Salleh, D’Sunlit’s Public Relation Officer during the signing ceremony of sponsorship for the new centre. Awesome!!
 


Did you know that SMARTER has a small bakery? They have been doing some business for quite some time and in this picture, Malai’s son was helping out with making chocolate cookies
 

Just like my IOS, it needs to be updated to keep up with technology. Same goes for anti-viruses for computers. Today Concepts Computer unveiled PANDA Anti-Virus Pro 2015, PANDA Security 2015 and PANDA Global Protection 2015. Each has its specific functions. PANDA Anti-Virus Pro 2015 will give you a peace of mind from viruses, spy wares and online fraud, for instance. It will be available for $18 a year for 1 PC license. For the PANDA Security 2015, this is ideal if you are regular usage of the internet especially buying things online. This is available for $28 a year per 1 PC license. If go for the PANDA Global Protection 2015, it covers all the aspect given plus the option of improved Parental Control and also encrypt private folders. It’s available for $38 a year per 1 PC license. Also Concepts Computer will be participating in the Book Fair 2015 at the Indoor Stadium, please visit our booths for other great promotions. And for more information please call 2233551, 2233552 or 2233553 or visit your nearest Concepts Computer showroom.

Recently also Concepts Computer celebrated the Year of the Goat with an open house for members of the media and invited guests. Present were Vincent Pao, General Manager of Concepts Computer and Alice Chan who greeted the invited guests. The event started with the traditional Chinese Yee Sang for a prosperous new year. Thank you once again to Vincent and Concepts Computer for continuously giving the best product and services to the consumer.

 


Vincent Pao, General Manager of Concepts Computer with Alice Chan and members of the media at Concepts Computer Chinese New Year Open House
 


Vincent Pao, General Manager of Concepts Computer with Alice Chan and members of the media at Concepts Computer Chinese New Year Open House
 


Vincent Pao, General Manager of Concepts Computer with Alice Chan and members of the media at Concepts Computer Chinese New Year Open House
 


Unveiling the new PANDA softwares at Concepts Computer
 

Ever heard of the Shell Eco-Marathon? This is an annual event where Brunei Darussalam has been participating in the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia. This year four teams participated represented by 20 young students recently in Luneta Park, Manila, the Philippines. How did Brunei go? The hurdle most participants always face is to make the cut for the final race. GenNext Pejuang from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) had two successful official runs by the weekend. GenNext Pejuang’s female driver, Dide Nurulaswani binti Haji Mohd Saidi, a 21 year old Bachelor of Science student majoring in Biology at UBD,described today’s achievement for the Brunei contingent, “Today, we had our third race attempt in the morning and successfully completed the full 10 laps in 27 mins. We then completed the fourth attempt, at 28 mins with more efficiency. So, we are very happy and relieved!”

Didie added that it has been a tough journey for everyone, “The most challenging moment for me was during practice runs. It’s been a while since I’ve driven Nakhoda, and it has been shipped (around) over the last couple of months. So, there was a lot of pressure on me. Thanks to my team, friends, supporting staff and volunteers as well as our Team Ambassador, who supported and motivated me, I got over it and here we are. After SEMA, I feel that I’ve grown to become a more responsible person, more dependable, and as someone people can trust.”

Well done to team Brunei for the efforts in the Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) Asia competition. The most important part is the experience factor and being in a team and I believe all of them had a blast in Manila. The head of Delegation was Pg Hj Sofhrin Pg Hj Ibrahim from Pusat Latihan Mekanik (PLM), who was also a supervisor for one of the teams. Funny thing was I was also in the Philippines during that time but for a FitFlop invitational event.

 


Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Dr Hjh Anita Binurul Zahrina Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Hj Awg Abdul Aziz presented the Brunei Flag to Head of Delegation Pg Hj Sofhrin Pg Hj Ibrahim from Pusat Latihan Mekanik (PLM), who is also a supervisor for one of the teams
 


Group photo before departure
 


GenNext Pejuang from UBD
 

  

22
Sep

Bojio?

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News

 

 

Get Connected through ICONIA

 

 

 

Peugeot Hari Raya Promotion 
 


Click image to enter Peugeot Brunei’s website
 

 

Citroën Brunei 
 


Click image to enter Citroën Brunei 
 

   
 

BIBD’s latest promotion


Top up tia. Click image to enter website.
 

  
 

 

ICON Design Store 
 


Click image to enter ICON Design Store website
 

  
 

PCSB FB competition 
 


Click image to enter Progresif Cellular Page and like the Page
 

 

  
 

WWE in KL soon 
 


Will you be catching WWE in KL? Because I am 😀 Click image to enter website.
 

I’m excited that WWE will be coming to Asia and to Kuala Lumpur for the first time since their last visit in year 2002. They will be having two shows in October 10th and 11th and you can grab them tickets through my ticketpro.com.my and I’m not sure if the tickets are sold out as yet.

I’m currently catching their latest Pay-Per-View Nights of Champions #wwenoc on Astro and so far the event is pretty good and this is a great hype leading to the event in Malaysia soon. Too bad we won’t be able to see Roman Reigns in KL because of his recent hernia operation. However, there will still be a handful of WWE stars that will make it to Kuala Lumpur and of course, the biggest draw of all is John Cena (though I don’t like his guts as much *lol*).

WWE LIVE is supported by Malaysia Major Events, a division of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, an agency under Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

So are you flying to KL to catch this once-in-a-life WWE experience? This should be a spectacle indeed.

 


Doing work this morning while catching WWE’s Night of Champions on Astro
 


A much satisfying affair between Brock Lesnar and John Cena but a question mark ending…
 

 

 

Beach Clean Up 
 


A washing machine, chest freezer, a Lazy Boy and a television set last weekend were among some of the waste that were collected during a beach cleaning campaign at Jerudong beach.

The event was organised by Brunei Shell Joint Ventures (BSJV) companies — Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP), Brunei LNG, Brunei Shell Marketing (BSM), Brunei Shell Tankers (BST) — and Brunei Gas Carriers Sdn Bhd (BGC).
It was conducted concurrently along the coastline of the Belait district — Billionth Barrel Monument and Lumut beach —and was held to commemorate 85 years of Shell’s presence in the nation.

A total 600 people comprising BSJV, BGC as well as volunteers and youths from various associations and schools from the two districts participated in the event, which was also aimed to support the International Coastal Cleanup 2014 (ICC 2014).

Coordinated by Ocean Conservancy, the event, in its 29th year, is world’s largest single day volunteer effort to clean up the earth’s beaches, lakes and rivers.

The event visibly raised environmental awareness among the volunteers and young students.


 


 


 


 


 


 

BSP Graduate Trainee Muhd Hisham Hj Zaini, who participated in the cleaning campaign for the first time expressed his wishes for the beach to always be clean and advised people to stop throwing non bio-degradable products.

“Reduce the use of bottles when going to beach, as this is the most common litter we found,” he said, and suggested the use of water flasks from home.

A group of St Margaret’s students and teacher agreed, as they were collecting mostly bottles, plastics and ropes. Ramesh Balram, a teacher from the school said that there were apparent changes before and after the cleanup.

“When we arrived, there were a lot of litter along the beach,” he told The Brunei Times, where they were told to cover a total of 500 metres from Billionth Barrel Monument. “Now going back, it’s more cleaner.”

Jerudong Beach Campaign Leader Md Suffian Hj Zainal Abidin said organising such campaigns are eye-openers.

“It is hoped that the participants here will take this experience to see what kind of waste that are being left on our beautiful beaches and consider if they are a contributor to the pollution or a volunteer to help save the environment,” he said. Text courtesy of Zatty Joanda and Hafiizah Maideen of The Brunei Times and images courtesy of BSP.


 


 


 


 


 


 

  
 

In remembrance of Mei Fong 
 

In remembrance of Chin Mei Fong, who was tragically murdered two weeks ago, around 60 friends and family members gathered at Bukit Shahbandar for a nine-hill hike last Saturday.

Flowers and messages from well-wishers could be seen at the area where the heinous crime took place.

Seeking justice, Mei Fong’s sister Debbie said, “We are appealing to anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it may seem, to come forward and help the police in their investigation.”

She conveyed her gratitude to witnesses who have already come forward and helped police fit together a photo fit of the two “persons of interest” they are currently looking for.

Debbie said copies of the photo fit would be put up at various public places such as hospitals and bus stops.

She also suggested that authorities place CCTVs at entrances of recreational parks to avoid similar incidents in the future.

A small police station and a logbook for registration could also be placed at the entrance of the park, she added.

 


Adrian Tan, husband of the late Chin Mei Fong, at one of the hills at Shahbandar. Image courtesy of James Kon of Borneo Bulletin.
 


Friends gathered to support the event in memory of the late Chin Mei Fong. Image courtesy of Eric Pui.
 


The fifth hill of Bukit Shahbandar. Image courtesy of Bobby.
 


Capturing the moment. Image courtesy of Bobby.
 


The special made t-shirt. Image courtesy of @shah_razali
 


She was a huge fan of Hello Kitty. Image courtesy of Bobby.
 


A message for the late Mei Fong. Image courtesy of @shah_razali
 


Rizan Latif paying his respect to Mei Fong. Image courtesy of @rizanlatif
 

Debbie described her sister as an avid hiker and a very fit person.

“Mei Fong would even skip lunch just to go to the gym.” she said, adding her sister had been planning on doing her Masters.

Mei Fong’s best friend and longtime colleague Liley Beritin remembered Mei Fong as a kind, lovely and loyal friend.

With a friendship spanning over 10 years, she expressed that “there is only one Mei Fong, no one can replace her. Losing her is like having a hole in my heart”.

She said Mei Fong had a deep passion for Hello Kitty and that her wish was to fly in a Hello Kitty airplane.

On Friday afternoon, the police gave a description of the two men who are believed to be foreigners and “persons of interest” to the case which may help to the investigation of the case.

They are aged between 30 and 40 and measure around 5’5 to 5’7 in height. Both men, who are of slim build, have short, black hair and very dark skin tone.

Those with information on the whereabouts of the duo can contact Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP) Pg Hj Abu Naba’a bin Pg Hj Yusof at 2322004, 2322005 or 2322006; hotline 993 or visit the nearest police station. Text courtesy of James Kon of Borneo Bulletin.

  
 

Good luck, Teah 
 


David Campbell, British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, handed over the Chevening Scholarship Awardee certificate to Siti Nurfateha Abdullah

Late post: The British High Commission in Brunei Darussalam hosted a farewell reception for the departing Chevening Scholarship Awardee at  at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Jalan Kota Batu recently.

Siti Nurfateha Abdullah will soon be departing for the United Kingdom (UK) in pursuit of a Masters in Anthropology of Development and Rights at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Currently employed as a Research Officer at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Nurfateha made the decision to undertake her post-graduate studies at Goldsmiths based on its status of having one of the best Anthropology Departments in the UK.

“Goldsmiths’ Anthropology Department takes a critical view of developed countries’ approach to development. Therefore, discussions and classes will be stimulating as it does not view any one philosophy as absolute but it takes into consideration of the societal differences,” said Nurfateha.

“Goldsmiths advocates an ethnographic approach to learning about society and basic human rights like education, women’s and children’s issues, and healthcare. This approach is useful to keep in mind as I will be able to apply what I’ll be learning in Brunei without forgetting its policies, culture and philosophy,” she added.

“Having previously taken my Bachelor’s Degree at the National University of Singapore, going to the UK will be my first direct exposure to the British education system. I hope to come back to Brunei bursting with ideas for work at the PMO as well as project I am a part of,” she concluded.

“I congratulate Siti Nurfateha Abdullah on joining our long list of prestigious Bruneian Chevening scholars,” said David Campbell, British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, pointing out that the year 2014 is a milestone for the British Government’s Chevening Progamme as it reaches the 30-year mark.

“Thirty years of scholarships around the world have created an influential global network of more than 43,000 Chevening alumni in over 150 countries.”

Applicants for the 2015/2016 Chevening Scholarship should visit www.chevening.org/brunei

They can find more information on how to apply and register to receive alerts about their applications, as well as to see the priority subjects for Chevening Scholarships. The deadline is November 15.

 

 


Group photo with the previous Chevening Scholars
 


In attendance during the presentation
 


Click image to find out more on how to apply. Deadline is November 15. Should I? 😀
 

  
 

 

Blind Dining 
 


BND 5,000 was raised for the “Blind Dining” Experience at Fun Bee Park recently
 

Late Post: Fun Bee Park, with the cooperation of IA Salon and Sorriso Restaurant launched the very first “Blind dining” experience in the Brunei with the vision of reaching out to the community and create awareness for the daily struggles that the visually impaired go through every day.

Dining in the dark debuted in Brunei on at Fun Bee Park, a three hour fine dining experience where Fun Bee Park’s artistic directress Cecilia Lee had invited the public to have a wonderful experience of dining in total darkness.

The very first restaurant in dark originated in Zurich, Switzerland in 1999. The idea of dining in the dark originated in 1998 during the “Dialogue in the Dark” exhibition at the Zurich Museum of Design. The focus was to give the sighted people an insight into the experience of being blind. This idea emerged because of the great enthusiasm shown by visitors and the opportunity to create jobs for visually impaired people.

With the complete loss of vision — and the resulting heightening of the other four senses — an evening of Dining in the Dark is an extraordinary culinary adventure. The meal was a learning experience for the guests and servers. Before entering the dimly lit dining area, the guests were blindfolded and led through by their young caretakers for the evening, who guided them through the meal as well.

The evening was a perfect combination of fine food, inspiring music and extra ordinary stories that tie everything together.

The dinner in total darkness, had guests fumbling to do simple tasks such as pour water, locate utensils, and even the food on their plates.

The guests enjoyed delicious food specially designed by Sorriso Restaurant Owner / Head Chef and his team. Joining the Fun Bee staff for the evening were a few young volunteers.  Dishes were served with perfection to taste to encourage diners to test their motor and sensory skills.

 


The guests in attendance
 


Blindfolded

Let the dine in begin (in the dark)

Food prepared by Sorriso Restaurant
 

Present at the event were representatives from the Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind, and NorAli Yusop, an officer with the special education unit, Ministry of Education, and a well known advocate for the visually impaired.

Cecilia Lee generously donated $5000 to Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind. Certain proceeds of the tickets sale will be donated to the association. Dining in the dark not only aim to provide sighted people an insight of being blind but moreover to spread awareness of the causes of blindness and the essential prevention practices.

After the dinner, many guests came on the floor to share their personal insights of the experience, and all walked away with a great sense of respect and appreciation for their sight. And even more admiration for the people who live without it daily.
Due to the very warm response, Fun Bee Park IA Salon, and Sorriso Restaurant will repeat the experience in October. Tickets will be available on purchase at Fun Bee Park (A6/A7 Ground Floor, Sempurna Complex, Batu Bersurat), IA Salon (The Mall Gadong), and Sorriso Restaurant (Kiulap). For more inquiries, call Fun Bee Park at 2457729 / 7178232.

 

  
 

03
Sep

The Scent

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News

 

An increase from last year’s intake 



Head of student representatives Muhd Romulus bin Muhd Roland speaking on behalf of the scholars

Last year it was above 40. This year, Brunei Shell Joint Venture (BSJV) awarded 54 students for scholarship programs and it is also the first time that a few scholars will be sent to Germany in August to pursue Mechanical Engineering at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

The scholarship program has been one of the most sought program and they have been many applications as demands are increasing in these fields. In actual fact, around 234 people applied for this year’s program. Furthermore, there are many students who are taking such subjects and interests and it’s pretty evident on the increase numbers of intakes for this year’s edition. Forty students will be heading to the UK, two in the United States, two in Germany and ten in Brunei Darussalam.

Before being awarded, the scholars had to undergo a tough assessment set by BSJV. Did you know that BSJV have sent over 600 students and this is back dated from 1972. Amazing!! The scholars will also be given the opportunity to be placed for attachment during summer to gain more experience.

Present during the event were Azhar Hj Yahya, Commercial Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) and the guest of honour Hjh Rosmawatty Hj Abd Mumin, Permanent Secretary (Upstream), Energy Department at the Prime Minister’s Office.


There was also tokens of appreciation to First Class Achievers and they are Lim Jong Hau, Han Wenxiu, Fiona Shim Siew Ying, Izzah Mardhiah Zulkipli and Farah Azyan binti Ali Umar Safri and they all received mini iPads :p

Congratulations to all the beneficiaries of the BSJV scholarship program and do make them proud and contribute back to the economy of Brunei 🙂

 


Azhar Hj Yahya, Commercial Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) with the scholars


















Students pursuing Masters


Students pursuing Masters




Fiona Shim receiving a token as a First Class Achiever


Lim Jong Hau receiving a token as a First Class Achiever


Han Wenxiu receiving a token as a First Class Achiever
 


Farah Azyan binti Ali Umar Safri receiving a token as a First Class Achiever


Izzah Mardhiah Zulkipli receiving a token as a First Class Achiever


A year journey 
 


Elizabeth Sim and her co-host Kevin Lo interviewing Chris Woo at Timeout with Liz last weekend

I missed the first show of Timeout with Liz and I didn’t realise it has been a year already. Good job on Elizabeth Sim to keep the show going despite the challenges that she has to go through over the period. Venue has always been a problem and it looks she has found a proper setting for her show. Last weekend she had two special guests – Chris Woo and Bridgette Ang as well as Joanna Kwan. There was also a food demo by Hip and Healthy during the 3rd segment of the show.

Overall the energy was great and so was the turn out. Great to see Zainal Bostaman and Joanne Tan to be involved in the show as well as Liz’ co-host Kevin Lo.I would like to congratulate Elizabeth on her one year anniversary of her show and things can only get better from here. I’m looking forward to your future shows this year and let’s start the 2nd year with a bang.

 


Chris Woo sharing his experience as a toastmaster and his world championship final experience
 


All of them have something in common. There are all WCOPA Brunei representatives
 


Joanna Kwan doing the Asian thing
 


Joanne Tan helping out with the show. Good to see you again.
 


Bridgette Ang, another WCOPA participant and I love her vocals
 


Zainal setting the tone of the evening
 


The ever charismatic Zainal
 


Such a great turn out last weekend
 


The couple behind Hip and Healthy
 

 

Yasmine gets a DST treat 
 


Liyana Yus and Nadiah posed with a fan last week at the DST event

As part of DST’s “Ihsan Kasih” community program, over 30 orphans accompanied by their parents and guardians from the Tutong District between the ages of 8 and 17 were treated to movie outing to watch Brunei’s local film “Yasmine: The Movie” as well as have the opportunity to meet and greet the stars from the local Brunei film “Yasmine”.

The outing began with a welcoming reception at Dewan Kemasyarkatan in Tutong town by DST’s “Ihsan Kasih” volunteers where the children accompanied by their guardians were provided bus shuttle return transportation to the cinema in Empire Hotel & Country Club in Jerudong. At the cinema, the orphans were greeted by DST “Ihsan Kasih” volunteers.

DST also treated the children with a free popcorn and drink before they were ushered to their seats in the cinema joined by the stars themselves.

According to Elixsurian Hj Busu, Manager of Group Corporate Communications on the Ihsan Kasih initiative with Orphans, “DST have been proactive in arranging activities for orphans from fun futsal tournaments in Brunei-Muara district, educational trips to places like the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre (OGDC) in Seria, Belait District, and now a movie outing to the cinema. We are glad that we have the means and opportunity to give the orphans in Tutong a movie outing as currently Tutong does not have its own resident cineplex. At the same time, DST have the opportunity to share the enjoyable experience with the children and get to know them better”.

He also adds his positive views on the chosen film for the outing, “Feedback from many local viewers have recommended Yasmine as a movie that is universal for all ages as it also comes with various life lessons that can be learned. Also, as the movie is produced by our own local talents, it is also a means to inspiring the orphan children to believe that anything they dream of can be possible. We are fortunate that the director and actresses have taken their personal time to meet the children and to get to know them during this short time.”

After the movie the children were given the opportunity to an exclusive surprise meet and greet photo session with the stars from “Yasmine: The Movie”- Liyana Yus, Nadia Wahid, the movie director from Origin films, Siti Kamaluddin. The visit ended with DST providing DST “Ihsan Kasih” goodies to the children before their departure back to Tutong.

Also invited to the movie outing were DST’s corporate and premium clients as a token of appreciation for their loyalty and support to DST’s products and services throughout the years.

“Ihsan Kasih” is DST’s community program aimed to gather DSTians for voluntary work and to do beautiful things out of love, to help the less fortunate Bruneian, orphans and special needs community.

 


A great turn out from the DST event last Friday
 


Radin Sufri of DST with the crew of Origin Films and the stars of Yasmine
 


Photo opportunity with the stars
 


Siti Kamaluddin appreciating DST and the audience
 


The screening of Yasmine
 


A great turn out last Friday
 


Gotcha Liyana :p
 

  
 

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