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Posts Tagged ‘toastmasters’


Finding my mojo

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


At-Taqwa Travel & Tour 

A new travel agent in town



Woohoo… It’s Mooonndaayyyyyy…. Well, I’m more burdened with workload and deadlines. I will be flying off again for Toastmasters meeting this weekend. Hence I will have to kickstart my week with a minor bang. I’m also immersed with refining my script for my finale project speech in the Competent Communicator manual (CC10) and I will be delivering it by tomorrow evening at the Brunei Speakers’ Club meeting at Seameo Voctech. All are welcome to witness (guest fees at $5 and student at $3) my finale speech for the CC manual and I do hope to get pinned by tomorrow evening. All this depends on my speech evaluator Lai Ling Ling if I met the objective of “being inspirational”. Regardless, I’m happy and blessed to be member of Brunei Speakers’ Club and thank you to my friends who have supported and play a part in my growth as a leader.


The moment when toastmasters members get recognized for their efforts in Brunei

I’m proud of them two – Liyana Sidek and Salih (Happy belated dude) as both of them finished their CC project manual on the same day

Movies galore. I have yet to do the Top 10 films of 2015 for both my blog and my podcast [The Popcorn Panel]. My co-host Del Goh is still away on vacation so I will firstly do my blog entry of the Top movies of 2015. It is such a pity that I didn’t manage to catch some of the highly recommended movies such as Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight or Leo DiCaprio’s Golden Globe winning performance in “The Revenant” and not forgetting Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip *eeerr.. I take that back*

2015 has given me a wonderful experience as a cinema goer. There are even some movies that I have caught multiple times because I purely love the cinematic experience and the movie wasn’t just a popcorn movie but has high replay value. Here some of the movies that fell in that category (and also a spoiler for my Top 10 movies) – Creed, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mad Max: Fury Road and Ant-Man. Stay tune for more updates on this.


One of my best experience was watching Marvel’s Ant-Man on IMAX 3D at Siam Paragon last year and I love the movie too.

Bang & Olufsen. Yes, it’s almost close to its opening date. They have shifted their opening day earlier than the slated date. Now fans of Bang & Olufsen can visit their official store located at Kiarong (near Kiarong Complex), Shop No.1, Ground Floor, Lot No. 47322, Simpang 41-1-12. You can give them a buzz at 266 0111. Ok, for those who are not aware of Bang & Olufsen, it’s a Danish consumer electronics company that designs and manufacture audio products, television sets and telephones and the brand is in the luxury category. I used to own a CD Hi-Fi stereo from B&O which has already been discontinued but man, that is one lean machine. This was back in the early 90s.

So I’m happy to announce that B&O is opening its store in Brunei physically. According to Howard Leong, General Manger of Sejalin Enterprise, the authorized distributor of B&O in Brunei Darussalam, there is a market in Brunei because there are many Bruneian customers who shop and repair their B&O products in Singapore (located at Grand Hyatt). Now with the physical store’s presence, customers can purchase the products at the same price as Singapore. Further more, they can send their products for repairs instead of flying to Singapore.

I had the privilege to experience their newly launched speakers – B&O BeoLab 90 Speakers and humungous TV, BeoVision Avant. What an awesome combo!! Watching my blu-ray collections will give me a cinematic experience. You will get to experience both these wonderful gadgets once B&O opens its doors this weekend. Congratulations to B&O for making your mark in Brunei. You can visit their Facebook Page for updates.


The opening date will be on Saturday, 16th January 2016. Ignore the print on the banner.

Finally B&O will open its store in Brunei this weekend. Image courtesy of B&O Brunei Facebook Page.

Wow, wow, wow!!! Simply the best experience to listen and watch on the BeoVision Avant and the BeoLab 90 Speakers..

Prepping for Consumer Fair. Just almost two weeks away and the locals can experience another Consumer Fair, the 17th edition. Wow, it has been a long time coming and I was involved in the first Consumer Fair back many years back. This event is a bi-annual event and it will take place on the final weekend of January (just nice, after payday). It will be a five day event as usual. Last weekend, they have exhibitors’ briefing for the purpose of logistics and regulations for the benefit of the exhibitors and consumers.

The theme for the 17th Consumer Fair will be “Life is sweet. Indulge!” organised by D’Sunlit (formerly known as Sunlit Advertising) and there will be 400 booths, offering products and services. It will be interesting to note especially for Doraemon fans that there will be a first-ever merchandise showcase in Brunei. Other activities will be “Did you c Sairol?” (one of the DPMM FC players) and of course, the most talked manhunt, the search for Mr. Brown as the winner will win a pair of tickets to visit Mr. Brown castles in Taiwan. There is also a charitable drive where there will be blood donation organised by the Laboratory Department of RIPAS on the final day of Consumer Fair.


Exhibitors prepping for the actual day of the Consumer Fair. Image courtesy of D’Sunlit.

Last December, @mrbrownbrunei awarded the lady a one year supply of Mr. Brown. Who will be another consolation winner come this Consumer Fair?

Lifestream Organic store. I paid a quick visit last week before its official opening. Apparently my friend Jordan Yau’s family runs the new organic shop. Recently there has been a demand for healthier options when it comes to food consumption. I quite like the presentation display (thumbs up) and if you are looking for eco-friendly products and organic food, this is the place to visit. If you are also concern about weight, they will provide consultations to make you achieve your goals. Where it is located? Just head to the Setia Kenangan II (near Regent Square) and it’s open daily from 10am to 8pm except on Friday (12pm to 2pm). You can call 223 1178 for details and you can visit their Facebook Page for updates.


Jacinta Yau, General Manager of Lifestream Organic (left) with her mother during the official opening yesterday. Image courtesy of Azli Azney of The Brunei Times.

I want to try this bread which can be chilled for quite sometime and the quality will still be there. Apparently, one of the most popular items at the store.

Some of the healthy ingredients for your consumption. Yea, Why not? 😀



Hope is all around

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Transiting to 2016 

Kicking off the new year with a beach gathering with my tennis buddies and coach Aiman Abdullah at Muara Beach

It feels great to be back on the court. I really love tennis, even at this age of reaching the four zero, my passion will override my physical being. I have many deadlines but only little to do with blog related. Though I have many stories to share, I shall be focusing more on my final draft to complete my 10th speech project.

Toastmasters. My final speech project for toastmasters (Competent Communicator) is scheduled for next Tuesday, 12th January. If you are interested to catch and be inspired, you are more than welcome to catch me live at Brunei Speakers’ Club meeting at SEAMEO Voctech at 7:30pm. As a toastmaster, I’ve learnt not only to be an affluent speaker but learning the ropes of a true leadership in guiding and mentoring members along the way. It’s always difficult to break the stigma that many thought that toastmasters is all about “talking/speaking” in public and that has become their biggest fear than taking a ride on a rollercoaster. So it is always nice to hear guests’ comments that they benefited from being a spectator, witnessing how role players played important roles in helping others to grow with positive criticism.

It took me three years to realise this as I wasn’t being present (in my mind) during toastmasters meeting back in 2011. After returning back to the arena, I rediscovered a whole new game and only then, I saw the true core values that I aspired to be and I never looked back since. Hence, I’m here as a toastmaster to make a difference, be the difference, in aspiring others to take the first step to grow as a leader and we have many qualified mentors to guide you through that journey. A big thank you to Shawn Narcis for seeing and believing in me and now I have a huge responsibility as I’m the organizing chair for the upcoming Brunei Toastmasters Conference in October 2016. I’m excited and also nervous.

Employment. Today’s headlines seems to be bring some hope to our community. It read – “Unemployment declines by 7% in October”. This data was issued by JPKE (Department of Economic Planning and Development). But then again, they have reported that these figures doesn’t really represent that the decline means that the jobseekers have a job. There are factors relating such as the previous registered jobseekers have left for further studies and also a handful have not renewed their registration as job seekers. Hence, it’s not a complete data representation but it’s the most comprehensive data to date. I’m pretty sure that not all jobseekers registered themselves as “jobseekers” to give a more accurate assessment on the level of unemployment in Brunei. With the decline of oil prices, there have been a major shake up in the oil and gas industry with some private companies forced to downsize their operations, hence low employment opportunities as compared to before.

Other streams of opportunities. So much emphasis has been given on SMEs. Let me spell it out – Small Medium Enterprises. It was good news to hear that His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’zzaddin Waddaulah and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said in his titah to call for a new body to handle SME. This highlights how we are too reliant on the Oil and Gas sector and did you know that almost 90% of our revenue generates from that sector alone. There were also changes in the some of the SME divisions in the Brunei Economic Development Board. Some of the divisions/departments from BEDB have been transferred to the Ministry of Energy and Industries. I’m not sure how the governing body of SMEs will run the system but it will be nice if all the separate bodies of SMEs to work under one-roof and bring out the best in our entrepreneurs. Let’s see how 2016 will unfold for them.

The new eye of Kiulap. There is so much difference when you compare Setia Kenangan I and Setia Kenanga II buildings. The latter is located next to Regent Square and it’s picking up pace in terms of retailers. It’s quite amazing how shops and brands are popping up in times of the depreciating oil prices. We have the likes of Pepperlunch, Tomato KidZ (kids furniture), Wrap in a Box, Nerdee Cafe, Games & Latte cafe, two Escape rooms, WoMen salon (co-owned by Wu Chun), Alsa Living, Yugo Desserts (coming soon), De Cottage and the newly relocated Euro Classic which hasn’t been opened yet. I’m beginning to like the selection and choices of shops at Setia Kenangan II. The only problem is that there will be more road congestion leading to Regent Square and Setia Kenangan II.





Wu Chun, new business line 

Wu Chun officially launched the opening of the WoMen salon in Setia Kenangan II, Kiulap last Sunday. Image courtesy of Vincent Hong.

Wu Chun with his daughter during the opening of the salon. Image courtesy of Vincent Hong.

At the cutting edge of the rising global beauty industry, WoMen Hair, a unisex hair salon which started their first outlet in Taiwan, is a dream team of talents who are driven to create a new revolution in re-defining the real power of Asian beauty.

Behind the curtain of Women Hair is a team of award winning stylists and international celebrities. WoMen hair creates a state-of-the-art technology with top-end platform for aspiring trendsetters and successful figures that pursue an artistic taste of a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

The WoMen Hair salon is now officially opened in Brunei and this is an extension of Wu Chun’s personal philosophy. Wu Chun shared, “Our end goal is to deliver happiness to our clients. WoMen Hair is both hip and incredibly relaxed – the perfect environment for exceptional consultation, styling and attention. It is more about being private than about being exclusive.“

Coined the ‘anti-salon’, WoMen Hair is an ever evolving space with art collaborations and a 2 floors of super chic yet vintage interior with unique features such as container built-up box and a vibrant trendsetting lounge fully designed by Wu Chun.

According to Wu Chun, “We push the boundaries of hairdressing, delivering creativity, quality and consistency to every client. I have to admit our services are a bit pricy but with such good level of standards, its not easily available elsewhere in South East Asia and even if there is, it might be more costly.”

WoMen Hair contributes on a wealth of high profile international campaigns and editorial features in some of the world’s leading publications. Highlights have included Elle, Bazaar, Esquire, Men’s Health, Marie Claire, Madame Figaro, Vogue, Cosmopolitan and more.

WoMen Hair Salon has now opened its door and is located at Kiulap’s new commercial shop lot – Kenangan II shopping complex is situated right behind Regent Square.; (Behind Excapade Restaurant). They are currently having an introductory offer for first-time customers to enjoy a 30% off on all their services.

For all the beauty enthusiasts who wants to have a new great look for 2016, please call 2236262 for the appointment that will re-define your beauty. Images courtesy of Vincent Hong.


Wu Chun with his invited guests

Wu Chun sporting a new hair cut


Wu Chun with the international hair stylists

A celebrity with an entrepreneurial spirit




Happy Long Weekend

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Happy Long Weekend 

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel leading the Maulud Nabi procession at Taman Hj Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien yesterday. More than 12,000 took part in the procession. Image courtesy of Sazali Ariff.

Sheikh Khalid with his family participating at Maulud Nabi procession too yesterday. Image courtesy of Sheikh Khalid.

Shop at Concepts Computer 😀

Check out the special deals from Royal Brunei Airlines. Click image to find out more. The 20% deal is applicable until 28th December.

One of my favourite dishes of 2015. The beef rendang from Pondok Sari Wangi. I will be doing a countdown to the favourite dish hopefully before the new year. By the way, none of the franchise dishes will be featured.

Congratulations to Farhan Jaafar Ali for reaching his Competent Communicator pin (need to successfully complete 10 speeches) and he inspired us with a simple thought of believing in ourselves especially others can. Liyana Sidek was given the honour to pin the CC badge on Farhan last Monday.

Thank you @progresif_cellular for the holiday gift 😀

I have so much going on for my teeth 🙁 My favourite flavour is Chocolate Chip #singapore

Finally I’ve beaten my conquerer, Minul Abas, on the court after being down 0-3 and ended winning 6-3 😀 Training has been fun with Aiman and the gang. See you all next week and I am probably thinking of another racket. Hmmmm..

Have your heard of the AT-Taqwa Travel Tours? It’s the latest travel agent in town and it’s located at Liang Toon. Just bought my first ticket from them this week 😀

OGDC presents Carnival Science and it will be ongoing until March 2016. It contains 28 interactive exhibitions and surely a good place for families to bring their kids this holiday season.

Join the search for the most loved coffee man in Brunei and be rewarded with a golden trip for 2 to Mr Brown castles in Taiwan. Join 1 game, 2 games or all 3 games! Game 1 – 27 Dec 2015 – Utama Grand Superstore; Game 2 – 13 Jan 2016 – UBD; Game 3 – 30 Jan 2016 – Consumer Fair, ICC. So simply register now at www.mrbrownbrunei.com and you click on the image to register

There will be 3 games played at 3 different locations. Participants can choose to join any game or join all 3 games. For each game played, there will be 1 grand prize winner. This means for 3 games, there will be a total of 3 different grand prize winners. All who registered to find Mr Brown in EACH GAME is automatically entitled to our lucky draw. Prizes per game include one year supply of Mr Brown Coffee (x2 winners) and Mr Brown T-shirt, cap and more (x5 winners).

Take the advantage you deserve. Get B$1,500 Shopping Voucher when you purchase DS3, DS4 or DS5. Visit their showroom to find out more information. Follow @citroenbrunei for more updates

I wonder how 2016 will look like

Something for colourist out there. Thank you Best Eastern

More colouring books available at Best Eastern

The closing date draw will be today. Good luck to all the participants

Hope all goes well before the bonus period *lol*

My third viewing of The Force Awakens and this time on IMAX at Lido, Singapore. My friend Tiffany gave it an 8 and it was her first experience of Star Wars series.



Making a difference

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Conference in Bali 

I had a great time last week with my fellow toastmasters. The bond is different from before and it’s stronger. I may not look enthusiastic in this photo because I deliberately looked sad. I’m sandwiched by two dedicated toastmasters from UBD.

The organizing chairperson Shawn Cassidy Narcis and deputy organizing chair Liana Kwan for the District 87 Semi-Annual Conference. They and the team pulled off a great show. It was such a pity that not many locals turned up from the Indonesia division.

The conference is over. The goodbyes were tough but we as toastmasters know that it’s a never ending journey with conferences in different cities every now and then. I realised that it’s a pretty hefty investment if I were to calculate the number of conferences I attend (such as in Sabah, Labuan and cities of Indonesia) like the current one in Bali. Luckily for me, I never questioned it because I know the values that I can get out of toastmasters – priceless – and I’m pleased to officially announced that Brunei Darussalam will be hosting a big toastmasters conference slated for November 2016 and the planning has begun.

This is also one reason why I haven’t been active updating my blog. I still have tons of articles pending from my previous coverages in Brunei and also my recent Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2015 adventure. I shall be updating that pretty soon as I have so much ample now in Bali before my next workshop in Ubud, Bali in a few days’ time. For now, I’m gonna do some reviews of the recent Bali in Paradise conference 2015.

What a wunderbar experience!! The venue was ideal as we had both the convention and the accommodation at the same hotel (Harris Hotel & Residence on Sunset Road). I shared a suite room with four musketeers – Superman Amran, the computer geek Dalton, go-with-the-flow Jack and the actual Superman Nur Iskandar. If I were to travel again, I don’t mind tagging along with them or vice-versa. Just have to make sure that you don’t use the kitchen sink because Dalton will use his luggage to cover it *lol*

We had seven educational speakers and I enjoyed all of them except for one. I was amazed how thorough Dinesh’s speech on how to deliver a winning speech and it was analytical and clear. I have learnt that I lacked clarity in delivering my points in my speech and even getting the message across. Another speaker was Miranda (from Bali) who reminded me the power of listening and I’m still practicing that skill and breaking the bad habit. The International Director Patrick Oei showed me the courage to take leap of faith and don’t be the “Elephant being tied to a stick” because that one little step can make a difference.

Golden voice Ariff stole the show of the supposedly absent Guest of Honour and he shared the different types of personalities in us – I found out that I’m an extrovert with feelings and intuition *lol* I’m not sure that’s a suitable trait to guide me as the organizing chair for next year’s convention but it can be fruitful indeed because we already have an amazing team.

We are so honoured to have two finalists in World Public Speaking Championship and one of them is Mohammed Qahtani the current World Champion of Public Speaking 2015 (thank you, Lorraine for hooking him up with Shawn). He started with a slight sign of nervousness but he picked up the tempo and lifted the crowd with his enthusiastic energy. What was missing is the Qahtani (rubber) band that I wanted to have, to remind me should I have negative thoughts in my head. My room mate Amran was lucky to be given one. Well, the idea of the rubber band is to sport it on your wrist, and whenever you say something negative or have negative thoughts, then you snap the rubber band. This can be a good habit especially when you are about to give a negative comment and you snap the band and from there you start giving positive comments. Hopefully one day it will make me give automated positive statements.

Lastly, the speaker that I was looking forward to was Kwong Yue Yang who now resides and working in Australia. His “Fortune Cookie” speech is my most viewed contest speech because it’s originality, humour and the message he delivered. I highly recommend you watch that speech which I thought should have won that year in 2011. He had two sessions during the Bali conference and I learnt a thing or two on how to inject humour into your script and yes, humour is a skill. Let’s not forget that. It was good to see his girlfriend tagging along and apparently she is his mentor. Keep up the great synergy and I do hope you make again to the finals next year. He is a true inspiration for all toastmasters and such a humble guy in person. What more can you ask for?


World Champion of Public Speaking 2015 Mohammed Qahtani delivering his talk and he had the biggest cheer of the day

I admire Kwong Yue Yang, another competent speaker who believes that humour is a skill, not just talent. Very useful tips he shared with us.

I kinda enjoyed Dinesh Viswani’s deconstruction of a humourous speech. Very detailed, clear and leaves a lasting impression.

I was happy to introduce our speaker Miranda Suryadjaja from Bali and she shared her tips on listening (everyone’s weakness)

Kwan, Hazwan, Laurence and Amran chilling after a long Gala dinner but we all had fun behind the scenes. Thank you, Kwan and Laurence for helping out last weekend.

The contest.

Of course, we were rooting for our Division K representatives Kamaliah (humourous) and Aaron (evaluation). It was also the first time that I attended a District level convention for these particular categories. Both speakers were drawn to deliver first in their respective categories (Man, what are the chances?) and I would have to say that they set the standard for the rest of the competition. For those in toastmasters, District Level and Division Level are a different ball game. In order to get to District, you must win Division level first.

In the evaluation speech contest, our first international delegate Alicia Curtis for next year’s convention in Brunei, was the test speaker and she shared her journey with Abby, her dog. My prediction was spot on for the podium finish. Aaron did his very best and squeezed in 2nd runner up while Ricky from Medan had an awesome delivery but perhaps lacking in content and ended up 1st runner-up. The District Champion for evaluation belonged to Rebecca Chieng of Kuching and she deserved it with her crisp, clear-cut analysis on Alicia’s speech.

During the contest, I could see my neighbour Laurence Dumling who kept jotting down points on her phone as she herself was once a finalist in District but missed out this year as she came second in Division Level. She would have given a good run for the money should she had competed last weekend because I know she’s very capable when I first saw her evaluation last year and wow, I finally found my role model to learn more on delivery and be more discipline in training myself to be a great evaluator.

As for the main event (humourous contest), it left me wondering if I was actually witnessing an Area level contest or a District Contest. The finalists failed to live the expectations and I felt embarrassed that our invited guest Kwong had to  endure the agony of listening to all the low quality of speeches with a few exceptions. Of course, for me the top two speakers Rebecca Chieng and winner Kamalia were awesome when on stage. The rest of the contestants weren’t up to District Level and it’s just maybe …. just maybe one of those years that the other divisions struggled to bring the best out of their toastmasters journey.

Kamalia kicked off the show and it was a never-ending episodes of entertainment and laughters. She was the only one that had clapping ovations and in the end, she was rewarded with a standing moments from section of the audience. It was already an amazing beginning to the contest and I was already worried if the rest could maintained it. It was not to be and not meant to be either.

The second speaker literally killed my enthusiasm when he showed deliberate signs of stereotyping and it was simply too offensive to my liking. This is something the his Division should address to the matter. I could go on and on for the rest of the contestants but I shall not humiliate further (Ok, I just snap the rubber band on my wrist).


Seng Yee preparing for the Gala dinner. A big appreciation for her for helping with the registration from Brunei and all the way to Bali and also willing to help with the minor things to make the event go smoothly. A good team player.

Our champions in Division K and they excelled in District Level. Kamalia won in Humourous Contest while Aaron came 2nd runner up in Speech Evaluation. Rebecca Chieng from Kuching was the best performer for winning the Speech Evaluation and coming 2nd in Humourous.

Once again, our club managed to achieve President’s Distinguished Club for 2014-2015. Posing behind is our Immediate Past President Hazwan Kamarulzaman.

Shawn can really rock the crowd as he showed during the welcoming dinner at Harris Hotel’s garden area

The choo-choo train…

Shawn again…

and yes… Shawn again…

Kwong Yue Yang documenting the welcoming dinner

The Strongest Division.

So what I have learnt from this contest is that our Division K (Brunei, Sabah and Labuan) is pretty, pretty strong and I am proud of it because it’s also a testament on how Division K work so hard collectively as a unit from time to time. Reuben Chin has a been a great ambassador as our Division K Director and he has been flying in and out to visit different clubs in Sabah and maintain that strong bond within the Division.

New friends, newer bonds.

I believe that’s the intention – to foster and empower individuals and that can made possible through having special bonds between one another. I created new bonds with friends from Indonesia, Sabah and even from down under (Australia & New Zealand). These small gestures made a huge difference for a successful conference and not just attending educational sessions or witnessing the contests. It’s deeper than that and the reward will be much more fulfilling.

I’ve never received many business cards until last weekend. Well, I was pitching and encouraging toastmasters from different parts of the world to visit Brunei and be part of next’s convention in November 2016 which means I had to carry out a bit of homework and laying the foundation first. The responses have been quite encouraging and I truly hope that the event next year will be a blast because I believe the team can turn it into a memorable and magical moment.


Pranika never looked happier *inside joke*

An interesting welcoming dinner concept

All eyes on the World Champion of Public Speaking 2015

Sandy taking a photo pop with the Mohammed Qahtani

I’m impressed with Stuart Lee being the contest chair for the Humourous Contest and he’s also one of the sponsors for the event.

I had a great connection with my role model whom is an awesome speech evaluator. I will definitely see you and the gang when I visit Sabah next time.

It’s good to see Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club receiving an award

Before the big Gala dinner, we all had Burger King. I forgot to pay you Hazwan or are you “belanja-ing” us? 😀

The theme for the Gala dinner was Red and Black. This is the powerpoint and media table for the slides and music. It may looked easy but it wasn’t. You really have to focus and be alert. Well done, Nina and Seng Yee.

Pranika was one of the most popular toastmaster because she was always being picked on *lol* Then again, she had the best seat in the educational session where she given the opportunity to see right in front of Mohammed Qahtani. Pranika also made an impact as many spoke highly of her during the convention. Definitely an asset to our Area K6 and also to the organizing committee for next year’s convention

My appreciations.

Before I end, I would like to give a big shout out to Shawn Narcis and his wing-person Ruey Narcis on the amazing job in making our journey to Bali possible and also taking care of us despite your busy schedules. To me, Shawn has been a great ambassador for toastmasters in our Division and also to the District. If I were to choose, he will be our Toastmaster of the Year. A shoutout also to Rozana Yunos who pulled off a great Gala Dinner and we even had impromptu emcees to ease Hawzan’s role during the award ceremony. A job well done also to Shawn’s co-organising chair Liana Kwan in making the convention in Bali a success.

Most of all, I would like to appreciate the Brunei toastmasters for making it this far to Bali. It does mean a lot when you travel all the way from Brunei to attend a conference. It’s the small things that matter and you all have make a difference. Hence, the tagline for my convention in Brunei is “Making a Difference”. I look forward for next year’s conference in Sandakan hopefully if my travel plans permit.

Thank you once again for a memorable and magical convention. If you be in those moment, you will truly enjoy and I did. Peace out 😀

Quote from Shawn for the Brunei toastmaster group: “I miss all of you. Now only since I am back in Brunei, thinking of how great the event went, without each and everyone of you, the success would never have happened. I would like to apologize if I did anything wrong to hurt any of you. If I did, I didn’t do it on purpose.”

“The experience, the journey and the learning are only because we all are toastmasters from one District. That is why what we do, what we say, helped the members in our District. We will surely be stronger (as members of toastmasters). We all have wanted to learn what is toastmasters and now you know what toastmasters have given you. They have given you a new family who is willing to support your growth. So again, from the bottom of my heart , I love you, my toastmaster family.”


Dalton was the young hero of the weekend. A little gesture but it means a lot to Datin and she treats Dalton as her grandson. Awwwww.. Good job, Dalton.

Nur Iskandar and Allen trying to hold their laughs during the humourous speech contest.

My photo opportunity with Kwong. Let’s hope your fortune is brighter in the next competition.

International Director Patrick Oei with the toastmasters delegates

Truly had a good time with the committee. Truly proud of what we achieved even though it was in a foreign land.

One of the toughest job and that is finance. Allen Ang is in charge and it’s never an easy task to carry out.



Still hope

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Bridge of Spies 

Podcast review of Bridge of Spies with special guest Thedoric



Let’s support “The Journey” 

Hjh Nurul Akmar Hj Mohd Jaafar BIBD’s head of consumer banking division and concurrent head of the bank’s CSR unit, Vivian Tie Suk Kee, Head of Rehabilitation Department at Jerudong Park Medical Centre, Wu Chun, director of Fitness Zone and Ak Danny, Marketing Officer of Jerudong Park Medical Centre during the press conference of the the musical broadway “Sebuah Perjalanan”

The Rehabilitation Department at Brunei Neuroscience, Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre (BNSRC) together with The Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) and supported by BIBD, will be organizing a musical broadway, “Sebuah Perjalanan” as part of the stroke and cancer patient’s therapeutic group activity programme. The musical is scheduled to be held on 1st November 2015, which coincides with the commemoration of World Stroke Day that is celebrated by countries around the world every year on 29th October.

The objective of the project is to create the best situation and environment, to help patients overcome their disabilities through meaningful rehabilitation that kindles sheer determination, states Vivian Tie Suk Kee, Head of Rehabilitation Department at JPMC. A total of 53 patients started practising to prepare for this event since 21 September 2015 which will last for 6 weeks, although about 20 will perform along with staff of the department. The whole process helps patients focus on a task for a good cause through rehabilitative strategies to help them recover their function and not on their disability. We hope to encourage and motivate the stroke patients to continue working hard towards further reducing their disabilities and achieving a more enriched life after a disabling stroke condition, she added.

With their previous TGA performances receiving positive feedback and positive clinical outcome, the department decided to take the next performance further by organizing a musical play, involving stroke patients and staff of BNSRC and JPMC. The story of the performance was written by a stroke patient based on real events together with staff of the Rehabilitation Department that aims to enhance the public’s awareness about stroke, the disability following stroke, its rehabilitation involved and the important elements for a successful recovery journey, stressing the importance of having fast medical attention.


Wu Chun urged the public to support the event

Vivian Tie whom I have so much respect for believing this project and she has so much passion and dedication to bring hope to stroke patients. Keep it up!!

The media of the partners and media

Wu Chun, Event Ambassador of “Sebuah Perjalanan” has previously shown his support by participating in preparations for the above event. “This Therapeutic Group Activity is very creative and helpful for patients, in working their brain and muscles. Through supporting this event, I can only do so much. We are here to create awareness and let the public know about how they can give a helping hand to those in need. Hopefully, they can spread the kind words and let others know more about this very sincere, yet meaningful event.”, stated Wu Chun previously. Live music will be supported by the amazing Uniq Band from Pusat Bahagia who are all visually impaired and also talented musicians from Expression Music Academy.

Meanwhile, Ak Danny Pg Tajuddin, Head of Marketing of JPMC stated, “The event will be held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) and is open to public with a ticket fee of BND25 (Balcony seats and free T-Shirt designed and autographed by Wu Chun), BND15 (Front row) and BND10 (Back row). All proceeds from this event will be donated to a charity organisation, BIBD ALAF. This initiative is fully supported by BNSRC’s Management. Stay tune to find out more about this event by following JPMC’s Facebook Page, The Jerudong Park Medical Centre, and Instagram Profile, @JPMCBrunei and @BNSRC_musical.”

Rehabilitation Department offers treatments available that includes Falls Prevention, Geriatric and Pediatric Rehabilitation, Back and Neck Pain, Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury, Orthopedics and Sports Injury. For more information, please visit their website at www.jpmc.cm.bn.


Wu Chun showing during the practice session and giving the stroke patients motivation for the upcoming musical event




Wu Chun meets MJ 

Wu Chun with Michael Jordan and other celebrities in Shanghai

Wu Chun’s a big fan of MJ
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Air Jordan, Jordan Brand has officially launched the Jordan House of Flight in Shanghai. The venue features a number of installations and interactive fan experiences. They include a gallery from the world-renowned Walter Iooss, the “poet laureate of the sports world,” representing the first time Jordan brand has showcase these images in the Greater China region; the Wall of Jordan, featuring paintings from the artist Michael Lau; and the Hall of Greatness, displaying Jordan innovations, products, and significant moments from the history of Jordan Brand; and the Jordan Brand athlete promenade, showcasing the Jordan Brand family of athletes.

As the host city for a lavish celebration of the 30th anniversary of Air Jordan, Shanghai went all out, even going so far as to adjust the city’s skyline with bright emerald lights. Highlights from the festivities included a conversation with Michael Jordan and Tinker Hatfield, as well as visits from Roger Federer, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Liu Xiang, Li Na, and Jordan signature athletes Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The Jordan House of Flight space also showcased experiences like the Last Shot of MJ, which allows 12 specially chosen TEAM 23 which consist of sports star such as Li Na and Liu Xiang together with super stars from the entertainment industry such as Wu Chun, Will Pan,etc to choose one of MJ’s breathtaking game-winning shots, complete with scene reproduction through LED screens that simulate defensive players and the expectant fans watching in the stands.

Although it’s hard to believe, it’s been three long decades since a young, high-flying, gold chain wearing Michael Jordan first entered the NBA as a member of the Chicago Bulls in 1985. His inaugural season with the team, which happened to end with Rookie of the Year honors, set in motion all that we know today. And by that we refer to Jordan Brand – the groundbreaking company that has revolutionized footwear both on and off the court. A cultural staple as important as any with a 30 year history, celebrates its pearl anniversary with one of its more celebrated components in mind – its fans.

Jordan‘s 30th anniversary festivities in Shanghai kicked off with a bang, highlighted the unveiling of the amazing Jordan House of Flight. The coda wasn’t shabby either, as Michael Jordan himself — along with Nike design legend Tinker Hatfield in tow — sat down with Ahmad Rashad for a free-flowing conversation. Making his first appearance in China after an 11-year absence, MJ reflected on the evolution of his game during his playing career, as well as the collaborative nature of his partnership with Tinker.


Michael Jordan at the Air Jordan 30th anniversary celebration in Shanghai

With Tinker Hatfield, Nike Design Legend

With Liu Xiang and Li Na

Wu Chun with Liu Xiang

The Air Jordan showroom


So how did Wu Chun feel after meeting his idol?

Wu Chun: I actually flew to USA 12 years ago to watch his last few games in his NBA career. I even waited outside his restaurant for hours and managed to take pic with him but this meeting is different because it was such a privilege to be selected as a member in the Team 23 in this Air Jordan 30th anniversary and it’s one of the best birthday gift for me this year! It’s a dream come true and my next dream is hoping to have the opportunity to play one on one with him. I know it might sound impossible but miracles do happen and like what MJ said, ” Never say never because limits like fear, are often just an illusion.”

So what were they (Wu Chun and MJ) conversing about?

Wu Chun: After the event, we went to a michelin-starred restaurant to have a 4-hour dinner. To me, it’s once in a lifetime opportunity to get up-close and personal with MJ so i really took out the courage to intro myself to him. Ironically I was so surprised to know that he actually screened through the list of TEAM 23 and he knew who I was. I shared my excitement that I am such a big fan of him and how much he had inspired me since the day I became his fan 25 years ago!”

How MJ inspired his life?

Wu Chun: If you read my book – Ignite Courage or if you are a member of Fitness Zone, you will notice how much admiration I have for this super legend. I admire him so much not because of how well he had played the game of basketball but it’s more towards his unbelievable work ethic, charismatic leadership skills, philanthropic responsibility and the strong desire to make his weaknesses into his strength. I thanked him for coming into my life as a great role model and hope I can follow his footsteps to be a good role model for others as well.”


Wu Chun attending one of the exhibition matches from NBA



Kamalia, Aaron representing Div K 

The Brunei Toastmasters with Datin during the Division K contest at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Reuben Chin, Division Director of Division K, Rozana Yunos runner-up in Humourous, Kamalia Kamaruzaman Division K champion in Humourous, Aaron Division K champion in evaluation and second runner up in humourous, Laurence Dumling, runner up in evaluation, Pranika Lama, second runner up in evaluation, Arthur, Contest Chair of the contest and Suzana the Chief Judge of the contest

Two weeks ago, I was in Kota Kinabalu with my fellow toastmasters buddies to support our representatives from Brunei Darussalam (Area K6) in the Humourous Speech and Evaluation Speech Contest in Division K (Brunei, Sabah, Labuan). The representatives were Rozana Dato Paduka Hj Yunos for Humurous Speech and Pranika Lama for Speech Evaluation.

The competition was pretty tough as it could have been anyone’s game especially the top three. Rozana’s idea of the F word caught us with laughters while Aaron shared his experience with the dentist and survived to share in the Humourous Speech contest. However, both couldn’t earned enough points as the judges chose Kamilia’s journey as a single lady. Yes, she was by far the most animated lady and she deserved the prize for her humourous delivery. Last year, she just missed out the first spot as Allen Ang (from Brunei) was the champion. This year, she came back stronger and she will now represent Division K in the Semi-Annual District which will happen in Bali, Indonesia at the end of October. Congratulations Kamilia Kamaruzaman.

As for the Evaluation Speech Contest, when I saw the line-up, I was only aware of three speakers and I knew it will be among them three – Pranika Lama, Laurence Dumling and Aaron. When Laurence was competing last year in Kota Kinabalu, I was already captivated by her presentation. She was just phenomenal and owned the stage then and she was the defending champion in Division K for evaluation. This year, it was a different story.

Aaron who has such a humourous personality, showed his flair and analysed the “how to collect your debts” speech where others have missed out on specific points. Pranika Lama did her very best as she struggled with the audio which distracted her flow of delivery but she still managed to come third. Laurence had another good run but she admitted that she wasn’t at her best that day but I really thought she did quite well and placed as runner-up. The winner was Aaron who was previously the Contest Chair last year. He is the only person to be placed in both categories – Winner in Humourous Speech and second runner-up in Speech Evaluation Contest.

The results mean that Kamalia and Aaron will represent our Division K in the final competition to be held in Bali, Indonesia. Nonetheless, I’m still proud of Rozana’s and Pranika’s journey in the competition and both have inspired me in many ways.

I also enjoyed the educational sessions in the morning though we only had a few hours of sleep *lol* Even those in attendance were very pleased that the sessions weren’t dry and quite engaging. So well done to the speakers (Reuben, Allen, Shane and Ruey) and also to the organising committee for the successful event overall. Now I can’t wait to fly to Bali and support both Aaron and Kamilia. Though my KK trip was less than 48 hours, I had a blast and mostly thanks to the people around me.




I love this token 😀

Shawn Cassidy-Narcis the District 87’s Club Growth Director saying a few words

Reuben Chin in his opening delivery to start off the educational sessions

The university students are full of passion for toastmasters 😀


Representing toastmasters from Sabah

Our flight to KK

Our first pitstop before shopping

It was Pranika’s first time at Nando’s :p

The biggest story after our toastmasters convention – the opening of Uniqlo in KK



Congrats Zana and Lama

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Rozana, Pranika wins

Gerald Goh (Contest Chair aka emcee), Rahul Breh (Organizing Chair of Area K6 Contest), Pranika Lama (1st place Evaluation, 2nd place Humourous), Rozana Yunos (1st place Humourous, 2nd place Evaluation), Farhan Jaafar Ali (3rd place Evaluation), Supatra Lee (3rd place Humourous) and Allen Ang (Area Director, in charge of Brunei Toastmasters) during the prize presentation of the Area K6 Humourous Speech and Speech Evaluation Contest at OGDC yesterday

Whooaa!! After a few years of hiatus, Rozana Yunos showed she ain’t rusty after dominating the Area K6 Toastmasters Humourous Speech and Evaluation Speech Contest held at the Oil and Discovery Centre (OGDC) yesterday. She’s no stranger to the Toastmasters scene as captured the hearts of other members of Brunei toastmasters where she came runner-up twice in District Level for Speech Evaluation Contest.

Yes, the terminology might be confusing for many as what do you mean by District Level. Ok, let me explain briefly in a simplified manner. Brunei Toastmasters is under Area K6 and we are privileged to have four clubs in Brunei – 1) Brunei Speakers’ Club 2) Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club 3) Oil Town Talkers (OTTERS) at Seria 4) UBD Toastmasters Club. So the winners of the contest will proceed to Division Level (Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak) and then the winner will proceed to District Level (Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak, Indonesia).

Ironically, Rozana will be contesting in the Humourous Speech contest in Division Level (early October in KK). The 1st Runner-up of the Brunei Area K6 went to Pranika Lama and 2nd Runner-up went to Supatra Lee. This is for the Humourous Speech Contest.



Rozana holding Challenge Trophy endorsed by Stuart Lee (District Champion 2013 in Humourous)

Rozana and Pranika will be representing Brunei in early October 😀

The role players yesterday with their poses

A special day for the audience. A double shot indeed. Thanks JK.

The colourful feather duster is so eye catchy. Nice speech, Elaine 😀

As for the Speech Evaluation Contest, it was a reverse of the other contest as Pranika Lama bagged first place and Rozana settled for second place. The youngest competitor Farhan Jaafar Ali came third. The test speaker for the day was Chan Seng Yee.

The contest was full of laughters especially during the Humourous Speech contest. Rozana stole the headline when she teased the audience with her speech title “The F.. Word” and set the bench mark for the rest of the speakers. Totally fun and yes, she is very animated as well. A well-deserved winner.

My personal favourite will be Pranika’s speech about her journey as a Nepalese living in Brunei. I am amazed with her fluidity as a speaker. She is a very composed speaker and her delivery especially with her pacing is something to be amazed about.

In other matters, the confessions (in their speeches) between our two toastmasters members (no names to be mentioned hehe) ruled the Club Contest two weeks ago. However, their similar repeated performance yesterday couldn’t earned enough points from the judges. But at least, we learnt some new information between the two 😀

I was also contesting for both categories but I entered with a different mentality – to enjoy and have fun. Yes, I was sharing my “crying episodes” and my love for my mom. The best thing out of this contest that I love is the growth of the speakers especially the newbies (Sandy, Phillip, Jidun, Aziman, Rahul, the Liyanas, Saiful, Val, Dalton, Hilman and many more).

So I will be heading to KK sometime next month to support our toastmasters members Rozana Yunos (Humourous) and Pranika Lama (Evaluation). Let’s hope for the best of our Brunei toastmasters representatives.




Durian treats

Jati Transport treated more than 90 of their employees together with their families to the Durian Festival held at Bintudoh Greenspring Resort in Kg Lamunin recently. Yes, it’s the Durian season and I ain’t a big fan 😀

The outing event was organised through Jati Social Club with the initiative to support the local farmers as well as to encourange social activities among colleagues outside the work place. Looks like they had a very fruitful time indeed.














The power of one

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Happening today

Congratulations to all the graduates. Catch me on Snapchat and Periscope.

The graduates of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam 27th Convocation




Discovery Sport stole the hearts


Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Indera Setia Diraja Sahibul Karib Pengiran Anak Hj Idris, Executive Chairman of Indera Motors (2nd from left) with British High Commissioner David Campbell, Hj Khairuddin Hj Abd Hamid, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (guest of honour) and Yang Amat Mulia Pg Anak Ghaffar during the launch of the Discovery Sport at The Empire Hotel & Country Club recently. Image courtesy of Azli Azney of The Brunei Times.

Late post: Recently Indera Motors Sdn Bhd, the sole distributor of Jaguar and Land Rover, launched the Land Rover Discovery Sport at the Empire Hotel & Country Club. In attendance were Executive Chairman of Indera Motors Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Indera Setia Diraja Sahibul Karib Pengiran Anak Hj Idris officiated at the launch ceremony, with Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources Hj Khairuddin Hj Abd Hamid as the guest of honour. Also present was Yang Amat Mulia Pg Anak Ghaffar and British High Commissioner David Campbell.

Noormala Othman, Senior Executive Manager of Indera Motors, gave a brief introduction of the Discovery Sport before the launch of the car. The Discovery Sport will be a big hit in Brunei because of its premium value and still affordable as the price tag starts at $73,800 on the road. As you know Land Rover has a 66 year history and it’s the first of its kind for the Discovery family to introduce a compact premium SUV in Brunei.

For more information on the new Discovery Sport or a test drive, visit the Indera Motors Showroom at Lot Q2, Q3 and Q4 at the Lambak Kanan Industrial area in Berakas. It is open from 8am until 5pm Mondays to Thursdays, Fridays from 8am until 11.30am and 2.30pm until 5pm, and Saturdays from 8am until 4pm. Images courtesy of Azli Azney of The Brunei Times.


Noormala Othman, Senior Executive Manager of Indera Motors

Unveiling the Discovery Sport

Ain’t that just a sexy car? 😀


It’s competition season


It’s the competition of the Humourous Contest and Speech Evaluation Contest for Brunei toastmasters. For your info, Brunei has four toastmasters clubs, namely Brunei Speakers’ Club, OTTERS, UBD Toastmasters Club and Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club.

Two representatives from each club will contest and the winner of the respective category will represent Brunei in the Division Level at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in early October.

The event will take place at OGDC, Seria this Sunday at 2pm. Yea, it’s quite a fair ride for those residing in town but if you have nothing better to do and also wanting to be entertained, then why not spare $5 to listen to eight speakers on their humorous speeches.


Jason Koo, one of the favourites for Humourous Speech. Good luck, buddy!

Elaine Tsang is also one of the finalists for the Area K6 contest

Here are the contestants in the their respective categories:

Humourous Contest

Supatra Lee – Brunei Speakers’ Club
Rano Iskandar – Brunei Speakers’ Club
Rozana Hj Yunos – Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club
Pranika Lama – Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club
Jason Koo – OTTERS
Elaine Tsang – OTTERS
Brendan Ti – UBD Toastmasters Club
Julius Hong – UBD Toastmasters Club

Speech Evaluation Contest

Supatra Lee – Brunei Speakers’ Club
Rano Iskandar – Brunei Speakers’ Club
Rozana Hj Yunos – Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club
Nina Kifrawi – Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club
Hazwan Kamarulzaman – OTTERS
Philip – OTTERS
Pranika Lama – UBD Toastmasters Club
Farhan Jaafar Ali – UBD Toastmasters Club

So good luck to all the contestants and the most important thing is to have fun, fun, fun 😀 The previous Area K6 winner was Allen Ang who bagged both the Humourous Contest and Speech Evaluation Contest.


This is the venue for the Area K6 contest at OGDC, Seria this coming Sunday at 2pm

The reason why I joined toastmasters – learning, leadership and friendship



Discovery Sport: Test Drive

Cool t-shirts for the test drive session of the Discovery Sport last August

Written and experienced by Aliya Zin, reporter from rano360.com: Indera Motors Sdn Bhd, the sole distributor for Jaguar and Land Rover in Brunei invited members of the media for a two day media escapade to Keningau, Sabah on 19th-20th August, to experience the new Discovery Sport, and the first member of the new Discovery family.

I was fortunate to have been part of the media group who went on the trip to Keningau, and experience what the new Discovery Sport has to offer. Full disclosure : I’m not a car aficionado, so if my opinion on the vehicle is seriously lacking in information, it’s only because I looked at it as a someone who views cars as a means to get from point A to point B, so I’ll do my best.

The seven vehicle expedition was flagged off by YAM Pg Anak Hj Abdul Ghaffar bin PISDSK Pg Anak Hj Idris, the General Manager of Indera Motors, from the Indera Motors showroom, and departed to Lawas, Tenom, Keningai and touring through the famous Crocker Range National Park in Sabah.

There were four of us road trip buddies in the white Discovery Sport : myself, Tiger Lim, Ragadah from BT and Alizan Maidin from Indera Motors. Tiger Lim was the first to take the wheel, taking us through Kuala Lurah all the way to Melasak Waterfall.

From a passenger’s point of view, the Discovery Sport is awesomely roomy. The rear compartment was able to fit 4 bags and a cooler and still fit some durian if we chose to carry back, but didn’t. For a passenger, the Discovery Sport is kind of a dream.. there are FIVE!, yes 5, USB ports to make it easy for you to charge your electronic devices, so there will be no arguing among passengers. The fully equipped infotainment system also allows you to connect your smartphone via Bluetooth, so you can listen to your favourite playlists and rock out on those long road trips without having to fiddle with long AUX cables. Another thing worth noting is there is a storage space between the driver and the passenger seat, which you can easily connect a USB hard drive to access an extensive music library, just like Alizan did.


Video of the Discovery Sport expedition. Reported and shot by The Brunei Times.


YAM Pg Anak Hj Abdul Ghaffar bin PISDSK Pg Anak Hj Idris, the General Manager of Indera Motors officially flagged off the Discovery Sport expedition

One of the Discovery Sport being driven

Among the features of Discovery Sport SUV are a Terrain Response system that includes a full suite of all-terrain technologies such as Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control (GRC) and Wade Sensing among others. This came in handy as we were headed down the trail to Melasak Waterfall, which had a rocky hilly terrain, and gave us the opportunity to test out the Hill Descent Control in particular.

What’s interesting about the Hill Descent Control is that you leave the speed up to the Discovery Sport. With feet off the accelerator, and hands firmly on the steering, and heart in my throat.. I took my foot off the brake, and let the vehicle do its thing. I was surprised at how easy it was to take my foot firmly off the brake and let the SUV take control of the descent. Not only was it capable of handling the terrain, but it took relatively smoothly. The speed of the Hill Descent control can be adjusted, so you can take it down as slowly as you wish. I had full trust in the vehicle and quite enjoyed the off-road experience.

Class-leading off-road capability stands at the core of Land Rover DNA. Naturally, the Discovery Sport’s body geometry has been optimised for even the harshest terrain, with excellent ground clearance, approach, departure and breakover angles, and an ability to wade through water to a depth of 600mm.

The Terrain Response system, meanwhile, allows the Discovery Sport’s steering, throttle response, gearbox, centre-coupling and braking/stability systems to be able to meet the demands of the challenging terrain. This is due to the fact that the system has four settings: General; Grass/Gravel/Snow (for slippery conditions on- and off-road); Muds and Ruts; and Sand.


There was also the test sampling of the durian

The rugged SUV

Nice shot of the Discovery Sport

The media representatives from Brunei

Our overnight lodgings were at the Dimie Pendalaman Resort Hotel, which takes a journey up a winding road up the mountain range, which the Discovery Sport handles with no problem. With its gorgeous, streamlined high-strength steel and lightweight aluminium bodyshell, it looks like in belonged among the green expanse and foggy views. I was definitely in love with the white vehicle, and not just because we had bonded inside it, but because the colour looked easy on the eyes, and just right in proportions of modern sleek and ruggedness.

The heart of the Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV is its engine: an all-alloy Si4 2.-litre with 240PS with direct fuel injection, thus providing power behind all the awesome technology. This six-cylinder engine cuts carbon dioxide emissions by up to 20 per cent, compared to conventional larger capacity engines with a similar power output.

All engine derivatives of the Land Rover Discovery Sport features advanced ZF 9HP48 nine-speed automatic transmission. Features include the next generation integral and advanced multi-link rear axle, all-new touchscreen infotainment system and state-of-the-art, and the Discovery Sport is fitted with a bold new headlamp design that integrates a slim, wraparound design and circular daytime-running lights (DTRLs). At the rear of the vehicle, the spoiler is crafted to optimise airflow for exceptional aerodynamic efficiency. The new Discovery Sport is well-armed with improved safety standards including the seven airbags inside the cabin and first-in-class pedestrian airbag that enhances pedestrian protection.

The fast bonnet line creates a distinctively compact profile that features significant interior space with optimal five plus two seating. This streamlined design allows all-round visibility, while the interior and load space areas are easily accessible.

The Discovery Sport’s interior has been designed to be premium and provide a versatile and calming space, with the centre being easily accessible from the Sports Command Driving Position.
After the two day trip, it’s so easy to see why the Discovery Sport is the world’s most versatile premium compact SUV. It’s just chock full of features that makes you want to get on the road and drive. But don’t just take my word for it, head down to the Indera Motors Showroom at Lot Q2 – Q4, Lambak Kanan Industrial Area and take her for a spin. It will a drive you will not regret.






Recently, a large crowd of supportive family and friends came out to support the opening of Lokalground, a collective store which is made up of 8 brands which made the step up from selling online on Instagram and Facebook to having a physical space to display their products to a wider audience.

Lokalground was the brain child of co-owner, Muhammad Abdul Najib Azhar bin Abdullah of Khalifahood, who pitched the idea to his clothing brand contemporaries. Eight brands, consisting of 7 local talents and 1 brand from Kuala Lumpur, make up the collective, namely : Khalifahood, Rule Clothing, VillieBeast, The Apparel Corner, Bruland Clothing, FWDs84, Roast and Roll Streetwear and Benua.BWN (Brunei stockist for Benua Clothing KL).

The store itself will serve as a focal point for the brands and allowing their customers to the have an opportunity to appreciate the wares instore and look at the other participating brands.
The store is located at #21.5, The Souq, 1st floor, The Airport Mall. Opening times are Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 8 pm, Fridays 2 pm to 8 pm and closed on Mondays. Any changes to opening times will be updated on @lokalground instagram account.

These 8 young entrepreneurs have more exciting projects lined up in the near future and look forward to working with more local brands within the Brunei independent clothing industry.












September around the corner

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Waiting for September

His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam (C) in action during yesterday’s His Majesty’s 69th Birthday Polo Cup at the Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club in Jerudong. The monarch’s Black Team is through to today’s final after defeating Yellow Team 11-4 in the first day of the four-team tournament yesterday. Image courtesy of Ridhwan Kamarulzaman of The Brunei Times.

It’s never easy when you have a lot on your hands. One reason why I had to forgo my traveling trips for this month especially Denmark. Two big weddings and a Toastmasters competition coming up and not forgetting His Majesty’s birthday celebrations in all the districts. It’s a month that will test my endurance in my late 30s *lol* I still feel I have much to offer (physical and mentally). Oh yea, there are still some corporate Open House invitations before end of August. So I need to squeeze in for that too.

Everyone keeps asking me “How’s the (Brunei) economy?” If someone asks me that particular question then it could be implying that the local economy is going through a transition. Spending power has been lesser than usual. It was evident during Ramadhan where bookings for restaurants didn’t top their benchmark of last year’s. Well, this could be down to another reason (too many new cafes and restaurants). Even purchasing of cars lately have been mediocre to say the least. How so? Because of the new directive from Monetary Authority of Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) that consumers have less flexibility in applying car loans. If you look at it in a positive way, there are good points to why this can benefit the end users in a long run. For me, I am very grateful of our stability in many areas including the economy in Brunei and not forgetting the harmony and peace. After reading what other regional countries are experiencing, it gives me a higher level of gratitude to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan and His Majesty’s government.

I kinda enjoyed Hjh Normah’s presentation. She’s the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources and she gave an insight on the current business environment in Brunei at a different perspective. We shouldn’t just use excuse such as the size of small population or the size of the country as Brunei have untapped opportunities through means of natural resources and culture. It’s never a disadvantage as well being a Muslim country as Brunei can be one of the international hub for the halal market where she highlighted the presence of Bruneihalal brand in the UK, specifically their distribution centre in Birmingham. The other big opportunity is Bio Innovation Corridor (BIC) which serves as base for manufacturers of halal products including food, cosmetics and medicinal and health supplements. She kicked off her presentation by saying Brunei is a good place to detox (mostly from entertainment).

Tonight I will be busy with my gadget(s) taking live feed and snap chatting on Azeez Jaafar and Nisaa Suresh’s Berbedak ceremony tonight. I have been having lack of sleep for the past two weeks or so but it has been fun.


Hari Raya celebration at BIBD Open House with Hj Rozan Yunos and his spouse

The Brunei Robotics Olympiad on the Regular Category. The Open Category will be on 29th August. I shall be covering that event.

Hjh Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama Hj Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (3rd from left) was the guest of honour at LBD forum yesterday, hosted by Asia Inc Forum and Baiduri Bank and Brunei Press as partners

The DJs from Pilihan at BIBD Open House. It was indeed a very packed event.

Finally the BBA got rid of the dirty mattress. Just a note though that there isn’t any cushion to soften the impact in case a player runs too fast.

Ah, the mini Zinger from KFC. I’m glad they released this as part of their ongoing menu.

Our toastmasters club at Brunei Speakers’ Club is growing week by week. Last night we had the strongest in terms of numbers and it was a wunderbar experience. Keep up the great work, lads!!

My favourite dish of all the Open Houses I’ve been 😀

Always inspired to know a passionate barista/entrepreneur

After my posting on IG, her green tea creme brûlée has been one of the popular items in her cafe. Must try.. Love the texture. Available at Piccolo Cafe (bandar)

My toy, Slyer, watching Minul and I in action on the court. I’ve been losing five straight times against him. What gives?

At Royal Brunei Airlines Open House

Check the new facelift for the Citroen DS3. The price is slightly higher. However, now the current DS3 is selling at $25,750 and it will be sold at that price until all stock is sold.

Now the Acer Iconia Tab 8W is back in stock and it also comes with Microsoft’s new Office 365 (one year subscription). Teachers and students will be able to enjoy the privilege as they will be given a special discount. Now available at Concepts Computer.

Two inspired runners who ran the Sundown Marathon 2015 in Singapore recently and both are using Polar watches. Do follow @polar_bn for updates. More stories on Polar (Brunei) on the sponsorship of local athletes.

Good thing about Snapchat

Thanks AB for the hospitality last week.

A Marvel adaption movie ruined by Fox. How could they?

The logo of my sister’s wedding

Best part of family weddings is gathering and reunions 😀

Now our inside driveway has been transformed into temporary tents

My siblings 😀

My chubby lil sis in her excusable pyjama

Been busy preparing with invites and the protocols for the upcoming events at home. September please come sooner 😀



Back in Ipoh

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


Mid Year Travel Delights 

Only now until 6th June. Prices are cheaper than usual and only last for four days. What are you waiting for? Thank you RB and congratulations on your 40th year of flight 😀 Click image to enter website.


Netball fever 

Brunei lost to Thailand yesterday 40-45 in the preliminary round of the netball SEA Games 2015. Image courtesy of Yee Chun Leong of The Brunei Times.

Ah, I wasn’t even in the netball match between Brunei and Thailand but I was up to date with the progress of the match. It was quite unfortunate that Brunei didn’t manage to squeeze that victory over Thailand. At one stage, Brunei was leading by 5 points at half time but the third quarter, Thailand upped their game and outscored Brunei and finished the game, winning by 5 points (40-45). The result meant that Brunei must beat the Philippines to be in contention for the semi-final berth.

In the other match, host Singapore failed to capitalize on home court advantage as they drew 35-35 in the preliminary round of the netball competition. This would mean the top of the group will be determined by a better goal difference. Singapore had the edge when they were leading 30-24 coming into the fourth quarter but the host blew their lead and the visitors capitalized on Singapore’s errors to stage a come back.

That’s it from for my updates on the current netball competition.


The Singaporean fans supporting their team in netball. Image courtesy of Netball Singapore.

Singapore vs Malaysia. Image courtesy of Netball Singapore.

Singapore vs Malaysia. Image courtesy of Netball Singapore.


Brunei Toastmasters, a growing family 

When Brunei Speakers’ Club was awarded with President’s Distinguish Club, we invited other Brunei toastmasters club to join the celebration. Thank you all for showing the true value of a toastmaster.

This is the Brunei dancing group – Brendan, Supatra, Jack, Farhan, Seng Yee and I. Thank you to Nora and Joanna from KK for helping us to coordinate the dances. It finally paid off 😀

Late post: Two weeks ago, around 25 members from Brunei Toastmasters Club attended 3-days Toastmasters International District 87 Annual Conference held in Kuching.

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches communication and leadership skills through a worldwide network of more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. In Brunei, there are 4 Toastmasters clubs – Brunei Speakers’ Club, Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club, Oil Town Talkers Toastmasters Club and the newly chartered UBD Toastmasters Club. So far, the journey and the growth have been great and the number of members gradually increasing.

During the 3-days conference, camaraderie between members have developed phenomenally and meaningful friendships have been strengthened. But to me, what is great about Brunei toastmasters is that we are great as a unit and we are united as one. I do observed how the Brunei toastmasters in different clubs operate but we all have the same agenda, to grow and to learn together and not see each other as competition.

In the Award Ceremony, Genevieve Lai, one of the founding members of Brunei Speakers’ Club made Brunei proud when she was among the few who was awarded the Distinguished Toastmasters Award (DTM), the highest education and leadership award from Toastmasters International. This would mean that she completed 40 speeches and completed four leadership manuals and also taking up higher positions in the ranks of toastmasters. So this is no easy feat at all.

She has also achieved Triple Crown awards along with Reuben Chin, Pranika Lama, Jason Koo and Allen Ang. Triple Crown awards were given to achievers who had accomplished three or more education or leadership programmes in one single term. I’m aiming for one next year so we will see how it goes 😀

What do all of them have in common? They all achieved triple crowns 😀 Reuben Chin (UBD Toastmasters), Pranika Lama (UBD Toastmasters), Genevieve Lai (Brunei Advanced Speakers’ Club), Jason Koo (Otters) and Allen Ang (Otters). Genevieve was also awarded Distinguished Toastmasters title that time.

Shawn Cassidy Narcis pitched why we all should go to Bali this November for the semi-annual conference. I’m definitely going 😀

I successfully pitched for the next convention to be in Brunei Darussalam. Now that’s a huge project for me but I’m confident that we can do this 😀

Brunei Speakers’ Club (BSC) was awarded President’s Distinguished Club, the highest rating that Toastmasters International gives to its clubs, in recognition of the club’s effort to maintain high quality meetings and good membership. BSC also achieved it last year and this shows great leadership in our club in recent years.

Brunei toastmasters hit milestones after milestones. During the District Council meeting, Shawn Cassidy Narcis was elected the Club Growth Director for District 87. District 87 is a region of Toastmasters International including Brunei, East Malaysia and Indonesia. It comprises 7 divisions with more than 150 corporate and community clubs.

“I will be working with every member in District 87 to have a greater experience in the Toastmasters journey, where friends help friends to grow and support each other. Every journey begins with a single step. And with every single step we can accomplish and reach our destination” said Narcis, incoming Club Growth Director 2015/2016.

To me, Shawn is our pillar in Brunei toastmasters. He has been a great role model for many and this is one reason why toastmasters is very strong in Brunei and I’m happy that he was elected as Club Growth Director.

Another leader in our community, Reuben Chin, stood up as the Division (K) Director where he will be serving 7 Areas which include Brunei, Labuan and Sabah.

“Over the coming years, we will see a rise in membership as the Toastmasters Program continues to make an impact on more and more peoples’ lives. And as that happens, it is our responsibility to focus on the learning aspect of Toastmasters. The focus on of the coming term will be an emphasis on education” said Chin.

Allen Ang, the incoming Area Director (K6) also added that sharing of best practices among clubs is essential for the club growth and success within Brunei. The current Area Director is Ruey Chong Narcis.

Pranika Lama with world champion of public speaking 2014 Dananjaya Hettiarachchi

So Dananjaya wants to be like me?? 😀

Seng Yee with the charismatic champion

During the conference, Education Sessions were also held where the World Champion of Public Speaking 2014, Dananjaya Hettiarachchi gave a motivational speech highlighting his journey to the World Championship last year. In his speech, he quoted “When you want something as bad as you want to breathe, then you will achieve it”. Best part about Dananjaya was that he actually invested his spare time in Kuching to be with the Brunei toastmasters and wow, he is such an inspirational and charismatic individual. We were all so blessed for him showing up.

Other speakers include Shurooq AlBanna (first Arab woman who won third place in the World Championship of Public Speaking), Johnny Uy (International Speech Contest Semi-finalist), Zaharom Naim (Professor of Media and Communication Studies), Raju Mandhyan (Coach & Learning Facilitator) and Alex Wong (ex-CEO of Pan Global, adventurer, author).

The next District 87 Conference will be held in Bali from October 30th to November 1st organised by Brunei Toastmasters, Shawn Cassidy Narcis. On a better not, I, as a member from Brunei Speakers’ Club also pitched in the District Council Meeting to host the District Semi-Annual Conference in November 2016. To me, it is my deepest intention to spread the awareness of Toastmasters in Brunei for the benefit of the community and I believe this event will bring a new chapter to Brunei.

Brunei Speakers’ Club meets regularly each Tuesday at 7:30 at SEAMEO VOCTECH. For more information about the event and club, please visit www.bruneispeakersclub.com and thanks VPR, Seng Yee for the write up.


We are not just toastmasters, we are family

During the Gala Dinner with the Brunei toastmasters

Rano Iskandar, the organizing chair for Semi-Annual District 2016 in Brunei, Reuben Chin, newly elect Division Director K, Shawn Cassidy Narcis, newly elect Club Growth Director (District) and Allen Ang, Area K6 Director



Where we must go

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in News, RA News


A growing family 

New milestones for Brunei toastmasters – Rano Iskandar, Organizing Chair for Semi-Annual Conference 2016, Allen Ang, Area K6 Director for Brunei Darussalam, Reuben Chin, Division K Director and Shawn Cassidy-Narcis, District Club Growth Director and organizing chair for Semi-Annual Conference 2015, Bali

We were recently in Kuching for the recent Toastmasters Annual Conference 2015 and it was an awesome conference which carries the theme “Conference with a difference”. I’ve learnt so many things and wow, I’m glad that I went for the annual conference in Kuching, Sarawak. Not just learning as an individual or as a leader but I had a great time bonding with my toastmaster buddies.

Toastmasters Brunei is perhaps the most connected family among the District Level (Brunei, East Malaysia and Indonesia). We have four toastmasters clubs in Brunei but we don’t actually compete against one another. Instead we help one another and that’s how Brunei toastmasters grow from time to time. I would say that the momentum is quite high and vibrant and it’s no accident that Brunei toastmasters have high tier leaders, namely Shawn Cassidy-Narcis (Club Director Growth for District), Reuben Chin (Division K Director) and Allen Ang (Area Director for Brunei).

My biggest feat was when I successfully pitched for the Semi-Annual Conference 2016 to be held in Brunei Darussalam and yes, we will be hosting a big one next year in Brunei and I will be your organizing chair for the event. So to the sponsors, I shall be approaching you some time this year 😀 A big shout out to Shawn, our beloved toastmasters ambassador, for believing and guiding me to greater heights. I know I have a purpose. The purpose to grow and to help others. I shall remind to help myself first before I can help others. Have a great week ahead!!


Group photo with the Brunei toastmasters and this is to acknowledged that Brunei Speakers’ Club had achieved President’s Distinguished Club for 2014-2015. Awesome!! Two years in a row!!!


ITB steamrolling 


The co-host ITB showed once again why they are the dominant force in BIBD At-tamwil University Cup 2015. They won their opening match 6-1 in the opening match last weekend. Last night ITB scored another big win and they are close to reaching the semi-finals of the tournament. They beat Curtin University 5-2 with goals coming from Mui’zuddin, AK Md Amirul and a hat trick from Naasiruddeen Abd Wahab. In the other match, Kolej IGS beat KUPU 1-0.

Today will be a rest day for the tournament and it will continue tomorrow (Friday). The matches for tomorrow ill be Unissa vs Politeknek Brunei (4pm at RBRC Football Field) and UBD vs Curtin University (8pm at RBRC Football Field). The big match will be between ITB and defending champion UBD which is dated on 2nd June 2015 at the RBRC Football Field.

The crowd attendance have been excellence and the organizers are also running lucky draws for the attendees. There is no entrance fee for your info. All are welcome to catch the tournament. Do look at the schedules here. Images below are courtesy of At-tamwil University Cup Facebook page.


Some of the winners of the lucky draw last night

Some section of the crowd last night between ITB and Curtin University

ITB getting ready for the match last night

A huge victory for ITB last night





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