Monday, October 30, 2006

The Eye of Ra...

LSM alluded to it in his post. It riled up my emotions. These are the people that really irk me! We’ve all heard similar stories about Bruneians flipping out their Yellow cards much like a referee would in a soccer game, to assert their authority and confirm their right to act like barbarians…

Because I take on more of the features of my chinese ancestry I have been on the receiving end of this sort of abuse more than once and I can tell you, it is demeaning, humiliating, and downright pisses me off! Something which I'm sure Rozi and others like us can attest to as well.

Anyway, was driving home yesterday afternoon when I saw the sun rays punching out from the clouds... Nice eh?

Focus on how ICT can benefit citizens

Shareen Han


THE difficulty of convincing all government agencies to break down structural barriers and work towards a common objective and purpose could be the most challenging aspect of successfully implementing e-government initiatives, speakers at a congress agreed.

Panellists in the E-Government Brunei Congress yesterday discussed that departments and ministries need to communicate by sharing information and working collectively in achieving common goals.

Michael Turner, moderator of a panel discussion on "Developing Tools and Frameworks for Successful E-Government'' said there should be a organisational culture whereby people collaborate and work together to provide more effective e-government services.

Jo Bryson, executive director of the office of e-government in Western Australia said there was a need to create a sense of urgency to use a system and mindset that "thinks across government agencies''."We have to convince senior management to take responsibility in ensuring that they practise a cross agency model,'' she said at the congress which took place at the Rizqun International Hotel.

Ten Chern Chiang, consulting manager of NCS Global Business in Australia said a mindset change is critical in preparing to implement successful e-government programmes.

"You have to be prepared to transform on whether you want to start from the bottom or take various stages to change, then you need to develop a unique e-government programme that can meet the local requirements of the country,'' he said.

A participant from the Prime Minister's Office warned that there was too much focus given to the term of e-government itself, as it may have connotations that "put off the citizens''.
"E-government may bring about connotations where people think it is about the ability to possess technical expertise, rather than how citizens can benefit from e-government,'' he said.

Jay Horton, another panel member said: "Maybe e-government needs to be made invisible to make a more meaningful impact on the citizens, to provide services that makes learning easier because citizens are more important than the technological infrastructure,'' he explained.

Jo Bryson added that she would not change the alphabet 'e', but she would substitute electronic government to enabling government.

"This will provide better interaction amongst government agencies and perhaps we need to go back to the basics in addressing what does e-government exist for, is it to protect citizens' interests and rights and how does it make it easier for the business community,'' she said.

Ten Chern Chiang responded by saying that e-government can be changed to integrated government, that brings together every institution to interact in a more efficient manner.

"Technology should be seen as a means to achieve goals in a faster way,'' he added.

Rumi Mallick, senior assistant editor of egov magazine in India asked the panellists: "How do you make all ministries to come together as one?''

Michael Turner replied that two situations will bring all ministries working towards a common goal.

One is when a crisis occurs, the other is "when a country has a strong leadership with a central vision of what you are trying to achieve''.

Ten Chern Chiang used a real life example used by Kuwait, saying that they "changed their cabinet overnight'' to unite all the ministries as one.

Jay Horton, on the other hand, responded: "With great difficulty and through practice of scenario planning.''

Earlier, Jay Horton said government leaders and executives can benefit from scenario planning for the implementation of e-government programmes.

"Scenarios can provide the framework for what works best in Brunei, as it helps us to anticipate what customers may need,'' he explained.

The two-day E-Government Brunei Congress, organised by DZ Hampton, a Singaporean-based business conference and exhibition organiser, concluded yesterday.

The Brunei Times

Jerudong Park never looked so good...

This was done by a terribly talented young Bruneian. I absolutely love it for the warm fuzzy feeling I get whenever I watch it. Keep em coming ah borg... or should it be ah kong? Or maybe ah king... hehehe

Sunday, October 29, 2006

See you downstairs...

Berhati-hati di jalan raya musim raya ani...

Taken this afternoon along the Brunei-Tutong highway near Jerudong... It looked like a self-accident. It was raining heavily and the road was slippery... Please take care while driving especially during this festive month...

Update (30/10/06): The Borneo Bulletin today carried the story of the accident. Inalillahi wa inalillahi rajiun... Takziah to the family of the young lady who was killed in the horrific crash... Al faaatihah...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cracked Plaster and Peeling paint...

In his post today, Mr BR put up an exclusive portrait of the Royal Family which was in the special box presented to those fortunate enough to be invited during the first day VIP open house at the palace.

Everytime I see a family portrait, I always imagine the boffins at Canon or Nikon research labs coming up with a camera which also takes a snapshot of what each person in the portrait is thinking at that split second when the shutter goes off... These thoughts can then be displayed, in comic book fashion, as cartoon captions above the person's head.

Wouldn't it be interesting if a device like that existed?

Couple of Laps Anyone?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Sicily-Manila Connection...

Some food for thought from His Majesty's Hari Raya Speech:

"Therefore, let us find happiness by living a moderate lifestyle. Save money for our family’s future. Our journey, also that of our children’s, is still long. It means that we must plan wisely.

No one knows what is in store in the future. And children are thus our future investment. And thus, let us prioritise their upbringing and education, while also making efforts to avoid possible mistakes.

Today, we may say we feel secure and prosperous. But perhaps tomorrow, we may not be able to say those words, except maybe to laugh or cry along. The nature of the future is that it is full of puzzles.

Therefore, let us not ask what will happen tomorrow, but think and plan for tomorrow."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Salam Aidil Fitri...

Tiba jua hari yang bahagia
Hari raya kita rai bersama
Hulurkanlah kemaafan tulus
Lupakanlah sengketa yang lama

Hari raya hari yang mulia
Bersamalah bersyukur kepadanya
Jangan lupa kepada mereka
Yang tidak senasib dengan kita

Hari raya hari yang bahagia
Bersama kita meraikannya
Anak kecil serta yang dewasa
Bergembira jua

Hulurkan seikhlas budimu
Di hari yang bahagia hari raya
Marilah bersama merasa
Di hari yang mulia hari raya

Selamat Hari Raya,
Maaf Zahir & Batin
kepada semua pengunjung

Dengan Ikhlas daripada,
AnakBrunei & Keluarga

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Wonder Years...

Was reading Pablo's Travel Stories and memories of my own travels came flooding back... I liked his quote, "The people out there are friends we have not met." Sometimes our own inhibitions can get in the way of potentially great and long-lasting friendships.

As a student in Perth many years ago, I also made the best of being there by interacting outside of my circle of familiarity. As a result many friendships were forged with people from all cultures and walks of life. Similarly, as a MOFATeer, travelling often meant new acquaintances and friendships.

Through IRC and the internet, even more friendships can be formed across a much wider, global network. These days we have Friendster and Multiply, "social networking" sites, according to its developers, which make it even easier to make friends globally. Its always heart-warming to know that we have a friend in every city across the globe.

A visit to Montreal once was testament to this. I met up with an IRC buddy and from that encounter began a lifelong friendship. She is now a mother to three great kids, and we still chat from time to time and catch up on each others' lives.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sisters Forever...

The bloodfest has begun. The marauding mongol hordes (aka Bruneian Shoppers) have descended upon the malls and shopping centres nationwide. All the main arteries leading to the popular shopping establishments are choked with cars, many carrying families with at least one member having had his bank account injected with funds from the early payday. Most likely also that member had spent a good hour (if they were lucky) queueing up at the ATM this afternoon to withdraw cash for the night's blood fest. This chaotic feeding frenzy is likely to last all the way til Monday night. To all who are part-taking in the glorious blood fest, spend wisely, and drive safely...

Joe the Ice Cream Man...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Sanur Experience...

Thanks to RA's review, I suddenly felt the urge to go and eat at Sanur this evening and we were not disappointed. Apparently RA also had the urge to eat there as well as we bumped into each other. I had my fill of the delicious tahu telor and sotong bakar. The yellow rice was good too and so was the gado-gado.

All in all a very satisfying meal and pleasantly under forty bucks for the five of us. Still a few more days left to enjoy this value for money buffet so head on down to Sanur at the Mall. Reservations are recommended as I can just foresee it being packed the next few days due to the early pay day.

Testing Lampong Cucul...

Was just reading an interesting response from a perpetrator (or in the site's terminology, an "awardee") at the Parking Idiot site. I was rather disturbed by Anonymous aka Jon Hardwood's comments.

For the sake of fairness, lets look at the legal definition of defamation: The elements that must be proved to establish defamation are: (1) A publication to one other than the person defamed; (2) of a false statement of fact; (3) which is understood as being of and concerning the plaintiff; and (4) which is understood in such a way as to tend to harm the reputation of plaintiff.

In this case, clearly condition (2) is not true as Jon Hardwood clearly admits on behalf of his/her friend. I'm no lawyer, but I dont think there is any case for "defamation" in a stricly legal sense.

I think this is more a case of moral values. Does our moral values allow us to believe that its ok do something wrong when our intentions are good? In this case, attending a bertahlil ceremony? Or in another more common scenario, going for Friday prayers?

Another notorious Parking Idiot site is the RIPAS hospital. Perhaps the Parking Idiots there dont get clamped for blocking an ENTIRE EXIT because the authorities kinda sensed that the "awardee" was visiting a sick relative, i.e. doing a good deed. Indeed...

We can extrapolate this argument to various interesting scenarios. An extreme example, we need money to perform the haj (not only good deed but one of the pillars of our religion!), so we rob a bank to get the money. Its ok lah, cos the end result is a good thing, we perform the haj wat. Ok maybe thats an extreme example but that's what Jon Hardwood's supposed argument was...

Jon Hardwood also struck a sensitive chord when posing the question whether the site owners would post pics of awardees they knew or were related to. Well I certainly hope so! There is no room for cover-ups when it comes to Parking Idiots. If the site is to accomplish its objective, then no awardees are to be spared!

Interestingly, the naming and shaming game is not new in our country. I believe it is an approach favoured by many high level bureaucrats to get some government initiatives going. It seems to work in some cases especially where moral values dictate that its ok to not cooperate since the lead agency is not yours and you were part of the "task force" or "working group" or "executive committee" just cos you were nominated. Not cos you share the same passion or committment to the cause as the guy sitting next to you.

Anyway, was testing the lampong cuculs for any blown bulbs couple of nights ago. Looks alright from this end...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Bake Fest Begins...

The Hari Raya bake fest has begun... Our humble kitchen is no exception to this annual (sometimes twice a year) phenomena. The missus is as much into baking as I am into cooking. As orders for these Superlicious ® Home-Baked Brownie Cookies (as served at Taurean Caf├ęs nation-wide) come in, the kitchen gets busier and hotter ;)

Arachnoid Nightmare at OGDC...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fireball in Jangsak...

There was a huge jam along jalan gadong in the jangsak area last night. Apparently there was a spectacular burning car incident. Fortunately nothing happened to the driver who was able to get out in time.

The JAM (which happened around the time people were returning from the mosque after terawih prayers) was caused by the number of people who STOPPED at the road shoulder to witness the spectacle. Top entertainment for the crowd was watching how our fire and rescue boys doused the fire with their hoses.

The damaged car is not visible in these shots but the billowing smoke can be seen from the car, which is blocked by a tree which decided to grow right in the line of vision from my window...

Migration Complete...

If you recall, sometime ago, I was toying with the idea of migrating to the wordpress platform. Today, that idea becomes a reality. The mig...