Thursday, November 30, 2006

Empowering Today's Youth

Today's topic is inspired by the young people at Koperasi Belia Kitani or KBK. The objective of KBK is to provide employment opportunities for youth, to nurture youth entrepreneurs, to instill a sense of ownership among the youth and shareholders, and to establish reputable corporate governance (both) internally and with other supporting agenc(ies).



In case you're curious about the pictures, read more at
Brunei Restaurant Review,
Your definitive guide to eating out in Brunei.

I said it before and I'll say it again...

I'm in a retrospective mood today... Below is a piece I wrote for Asia-inc in 2002. Four years on, we are still struggling to address the same challenges that I outlined. It seems to me that the ICT industry in Brunei is bleeding slowly to death (some are already dead) from this paralysis caused by analysis. I wish I could be as candid as my friend Pat when it comes to giving my two cents about these things but that's not my style, so I just leave it at that :)
In the wake of the financial crisis of 1997 and the plummeting price of oil at that time, His Majesty's government set up the Brunei Darussalam Economic Council to review the economy and to suggest ways to strengthen it. In the Council's report, a central theme was the need for Brunei to diversify its economy away from its traditional dependence on oil and gas.

Amongst the elements recommended to help diversify the economy was the development of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry. This resulted in a flurry of activity in the ICT sector from both the government and private sector. Admittedly, these activities are limited only to second (system integration) and third (supply & maintenance) tier projects. Little or no first tier (research and development) activity is currently underway.

Brunei's economy has always been primarily government driven. Predictably, the activities of Brunei's fledgling ICT industry are mainly centered around government related projects.

Under the 8th National Development Plan, the Brunei government has allocated over B$900 million for the development of the ICT sector. A substantial part of this budget is devoted to the development of infrastructure for the government's "e- Government" initiative to apply information technology to the operations of government.

The "E-Government" initiative will expand the breadth and depth of the fledgling ICT industry in Brunei from merely piecemeal projects addressing vertical needs, to multi-million dollar projects which address the horizontal needs of government.

The Ministry of Finance flagship called TAFIS is the first of these massive projects to rollout. Other projects which have been identified as flagships include Human Resource Management System (HRMIS), Multipurpose Smart Card, EG Centre Services, EG Bandwidth Services, e-Health, e-Education, Mukim.net and the Brunei Darussalam Eco-Cyber Park.

All these flagships point towards government being the leading edge user of ICT in Brunei. ICT is now beginning to be seen within government as a profit center rather than purely from a procurement perspective.

In line with the global trend to outsource information system management processes, the Brunei government is also moving towards an outsourcing model. This is a welcome development as it will generate plenty of downstream activities especially in the ICT services sector.

The trend is also towards localization of the ICT industry in Brunei and one of the most welcome moves from which the private sector will benefit greatly is the setting up of the Brunei Information Technology (BIT) Corporation under the business development plan of the Brunei Information Technology Council.

As a corporate body, the BIT corporation will focus on the promotion and development of an indigenous ICT industry. It will also form partnerships with others to carry out its functions which include:
  • research and strategic innovations,
  • corporate and business developments,
  • technology park related developments,
  • research and development information technology in line with Brunei's national information technology mission and national philosophy,
  • and other relevant ICT activities.
The challenges ahead as I see it are as follows:

Human resources - How do we develop ICT literate human resources to service the ICT Industry both within and outside Brunei? Brunei's ICT industry requires a new breed of worker, the "knowledge worker". The industry emphasizes the need for creativity and innovation. Our education system may need to adjust itself according to the new requirements of the new economy.

Government - How quickly can government turn itself into the leading edge user? How do we address the problem of "over-cautiousness" and inertia in government? With the current drive towards electronic government, the Brunei government has the opportunity to progress up the IT maturity scale fairly quickly. The problem of "over-cautiousness" can be addressed when there is an increase in empowerment within the ranks of the civil service to make certain decisions which will benefit the nation at the end of the day.

Private/Business sector - How do we foster a private/ business sector capable of anticipating and seizing opportunities rather than simply reacting to developments? Brunei Darussalam's E-Initiatives present a unique opportunity for the private/business sector to develop itself through implementation of large scale IT projects like the e-government flagships. This is an opportunity not to be missed and the private/business sector needs to adopt a pro-active approach in educating and creating awareness among their government counterparts on what is available out there.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Intimate...

This photo was taken during a trip to KK a few years ago. It was a very significant trip because that was the first time just me and the girls went on vacation together... The missus stayed home nursing little Nina who had just been born at the time... While I checked in, I told the girls to wait at the lobby area. I saw them sitting together like this, and zoomed in for a shot.

I've submitted this photo to JPG Magazine to appear in their next issue. If you think it should be in the mag, click here. Incidentally, voting closes in THREE days! (Hint hint!)

Please and thank you :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Royal Plaudits for Private Schools...




Definition of plaudit.

It's great to see that due recognition is given to private schools at the highest levels. I hope the cry for overhead bridges in the vicinity of private schools will be heard as well at the highest levels...

anakbrunei.org


Pablo asked me the other day why I registered the domain anakbrunei.org and I replied it was part of branding strategy. But what is branding strategy? Heheh to tell you the truth I'm also not sure but Pablo cleared it up somewhat in his post. I never saw it that way but it does make sense. Now I know...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy 39th Anniversary Mummy & Papa...

Tonight, we had a home cooked dinner to celebrate my parents' 39th Wedding Anniversary which falls tomorrow. My sis made the lovely asparagus and the superlicious tiramisu while I made the fetuccini, baked chicken with herbs & garlic, and for the kids, mac n cheese :)

Roasted asparagus spears with rosemary & cherry tomatoes rolled in beef bacon

Spinach fetuccini with sauteed portobello mushrooms, roasted peppers, and zuchini

Superlicious Tiramisu topped with chocolate shavings

Asiiiiik!




My full review of the family promo meal at Sanur Indonesian Restaurant as heard on the Jenny M show @ KristalFM today:

  • Tahu telor: What can I say? Perfecto! Gusto! Making tahu telor is an artform I reckon, and the chef at Sanur's got it down pat. Always delicious and always hits the spot!
  • Ayam Goreng Bumbu: I think this was the highlight of the meal (cos the tahu telur was foregone conclusion). Very nicely marinated chicken fried to perfection. Was good by itself. Inda payah becacah lagi. Kids absolutely loved it cos it wasn't too spicy. Mental note: next time order double serve heheheh!
  • Sambal Udang: The Sambal prawns were different to what you normally get in other indonesian restaurants. Usually the prawns are cooked in the sambal but here its what appears to be pre-boiled prawns served with sambal on top. Perhaps its to keep the prawns fresh. I like the sambal.. a lot!
  • Beef Rendang: Rendang is one of Sanur signature dishes and its definitely got that indonesian flavor. Spicy! The kids had a bit of trouble with it. My second daughter summed it up, "Nyaman.. tapi padassss!" I liked the fact that they offer to cut it into smaller pieces cos rendang generally uses quite big cuts of meat with long grain.
  • Gado-gado: It was quite spicy but delicious. You can taste the peanuts cos its freshly made. Perhaps cut up the egg into smaller portions so its easier to bagi-bagi?
  • Sop Asam: Reminded me too much of tomyam. They should re-think that one. Perhaps sop daging or tulang would be more appropriate?
Notes:
  • Ambience would have been better if there was some gamelan or keroncong music in background?
  • What happened to the pre-dinner keropok and sambal? I liked those... a lot heheh.
  • Also missing was the signature attire for Sanur service staff. I like those... very smart. I assume it'll be back once they get permanent staff...
  • Serve size was ok, but if you have a hearty appetite, bring 3 friends and order the meal for six. Sure tersandar one!!
  • Overall, a very satisfying meal, served promptly and without fuss.
My rating: 7.5 out of 10. Points taken away for lack of ambience, no more keropok and sambal, and the soup. Extra points for offering to cut the beef, the polite and attentive service staff, and of course that perfect tahu telor!

I'm definitely going back to try the other dishes on the promo set menu esp the Ikan Pepes that Rano's always raving about heheheh. Thanks to Sanur and KristalFM for inviting me to sample the cuisine! Cool bananas...

Check out my other reviews:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Providing a platform for sustainable development...




Hope everyone had a nice weekend. The family and I will be heading off to Sanur tonight to try out their 1st anniversary promo. Tune in to the Jenny M show on Kristal FM tomorrow at lunch time to hear my full review of tonight's dinner ;)

Connecting Canadians...





Friday, November 24, 2006

Hj Don Corleone & the boys...

Been reading with great interest Mr BR's pieces on Brunei Malay wedding gear and Mamalobeng's Power of Underwear eheheh (funny girl that one!) and the one thing that comes to mind is which is culture, which is religion and where do we draw the line?

Do we as a society adopt the practices of our ancestors when it suits us eventhough it goes against religion? Why have lavish weddings when some of us clearly cannot afford them? Why throw a perfectly good pair of underwear on the roof to prevent rain when it's clearly God's will that it rains? I'm sure there's numerous fatwas from the state mufti on this issue so I won't go into them.

To me, its all about our world-view and how it shapes the way we conduct our daily activities from weddings to funerals. A world-view provides us with a structure of reality; it defines, classifies, and orders the "real" in the universe, in our world, and in our society.

A world-view embodies man's most general conceptions of order. If this is accepted as a working definition, then religion provides a people with their fundamental orientation toward that reality (Anthropology 101? heheh).

If world-view provides an intellectually satisfying picture of reality, religion provides both an intellectually and emotionally satisfying picture of, and orientation toward, that reality. Religion then carries the function of making endurable such unpleasant facts of the human condition as evil, suffering, meaninglessness, and death...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Watcha making for dinner daddy?

Bapa kepada Raja adalah syariat ajaran Rasul
Ibu kepada Raja adalah adat dan undang-undang
Saudara kepada Raja adalah segala Menteri Besar dan Kecil
Anak kepada Raja adalah segala rakyat jelata
Bahawa Raja itu bagaikan tiada bapa, ibu dan anak
Tidak diutamakan oleh Raja kepentingan lain melainkan rakyat jelata.
Malah ungka siamang di hutan jua adalah di bawah jagaan Raja
Menjalankan pemerintahan dengan adil
Memelihara agama - menjamin keamanan
Menunaikan kewajipan dengan penuh iltizam
Jika Raja gagal menjunjung kebenaran ini
Maka hancur musnahlah negara...

Cheeky Munky...

AnakBrunei@Blogspot now has a
brand spanking new address and its:
http://www.anakbrunei.org

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wet Pussy...

Kids, today's topic was inspired by Sassy Monroe.

I just love the way bahasa Indonesia sounds when used in an ICT context. Its so colorful don't you think?

Ketika anda kali pertama mengenal komputer, tentunya kebanyakan dari anda memakai operating system Windows. Tidak peduli apakah operating system tersebut bajakan atau orisinal, pokoknya yang ada dalam benak anda adalah sebuah komputer hanya bisa berjalan dengan operating system Windows. Begitu juga ketika anda ingin melakukan surfing Internet, anda tentu memerlukan sebuah web browsing yang bisa digunakan untuk menjelajah dunia maya secara cepat dan nyaman.

Dalam hal ini, Windows yang anda kenal tersebut hanya meyediakan Internet Explorer atau IE sebagai web browser standar ketika anda melakukan instalasi Windows ke dalam komputer anda. Dengan begitu, tentunya anda hanya mengenal IE saja sebagai satu-satunya web browser pada saat itu.

Kemudian beberapa tahun belakangan ini banyak bermunculan komunitas open source di dunia yang tercipta dari “ketidak puasan” mereka terhadap Microsoft yang dianggap telah memonopoli sebagian besar software yang beredar di seluruh dunia. Yang paling terlihat dari usaha para komunitas open source tersebut adalah terciptanya operating system yang disebut-sebut mampu menandingi Microsoft windows, yaitu Linux.

Operating system Linux mempunyai berbagai macam jenis yang biasa disebut dengan distro. Masing-masing distro memiliki keunggulan yang berbeda satu sama lain. Namun, ada satu aplikasi yang sama pada setiap distro tersebut, yaitu web browser yang digunakan. Hampir semua distro yang ada di Linux menggunakan web browser dari Mozilla yang disebut dengan Firefox sebagai standar web browser mereka.

Satu lagi pilihan web browser yang bisa anda gunakan selain IE dan Firefox adalah Opera. Web browser yang satu ini sebenarnya diluncurkan dalam bentuk shareware kali pertama pada tahun 1996 jauh sebelum Firefox diluncurkan. Namun entah kenapa, namanya timbul dan tenggelam seiring semakin diperbaruinya fitur dan fungsi yang ada dalam Internet Explorer dan Firefox. Perlu anda ketahui bahwa Opera adalah web browser pertama yang sudah menggunakan fungsi tabbing. Setelah itu, baru kemudian yang lain mengikuti, seperti Firefox dan yang terakhir adalah IE.

More...

The House That Jack Built...


I really enjoyed reading Jack's post on Brunei businesses going bust. Absolutely agree that its not all gloom and doom and its just a matter of time before the economy starts pumping again with all those projects slated for the 9th RKN.

My only concern is this, what do we do before then? Aside from jostling for position with arms (and mouths) wide-open, ready for the giant JPKE to award those "mega-projects"?

Anyway, thats boring stuff. I was more excited by the suggestion that Brunei become a retirement village for the rich (and famous?). I like that idea, and I think it can work! Not only as retirement village but also as a residential base for executives from multi-national companies, it would be ideal. With all ASEAN capitals within a short flying distance, these executives could telecommute daily and fly to and from meetings as and when.

In return, they would get a safe, tax-free, and clean environment to bring up their families.

Sweet...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nina the Bartina Pt II

My full review of Casino Royale as heard on the Jenny M Show on Kristal FM this morning:

  • Daniel Craig is definitely a Bond for the ladies
  • ‘Ard as, on the outside, but soft as on the inside
  • Similar to his character XXXX in Layer Cake, or Dennis Waterman’s character Terry in that British gangster series “Minder”. At some points he actually reminded me of Bruce Willis in DieHard!
  • Pecs similar to mine… if seen in certain light lah
  • Still cannot beat Sean Connery in my book
Highlights:

  • Vertigo inducing chase in Madagascarian construction site
  • The sarcastic exchange when he first meets Vesper Lynd (ooo ladies love it don’t they?)
  • The “Stephanie Broadchest” line made me chuckle
  • The poker game was intriguing but still can’t figure out Texas Hold’em Poker
  • The scenery was gorgeous esp. Bahamas and Montenegro… WOW
Lowlights:

  • The Pout.. gets annoying after a while
  • Bit slow esp. the bits where he’s playing lovey dovey with Vespa. Felt like I was watching Gone with the Wind at one stage… The ladies must’ve loved it
  • What happened to all the gadgets?? Feels kind of weird to not have all those gadgets. The Aston Martin DBS was sweet though.
  • At one stage I thought I was watching an episode of House when Bond administers Digitalis to himself and tried to defibrillate himself
  • The female co-star was not my type. Apparently Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron were strongly considered for the role. Give me Halle Berry any day! Ok if must be English, then Kiera Knightley will do nicely fanks!
Emma refers to a ball breaking sequence in the film in her review… well it definitely gives new meaning to the word “nut-cracker”

My rating: 7 out of 10 (minus 1 for lack of gadgets, minus 1 for leading lady, and minus 1 for the gone with the wind stuff.. urrghhh if I wanna watch love story I’ll watch Pride and Prejudice)

Here’s a parting thought… Wonder what it’d be like if the next bond movie was directed by Quentin Tarantino? Sweeet!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Tragedy waiting to happen





I took these pics (with my K750i) in front of PDS School in Jangsak. Some parents have taken it upon themselves to risk their children's and their own lives every single day by parking on the opposite side of the road facing the school and crossing the dual carriageway to pick up their kids.

I get very upset when parents do this because it just takes one slip of footing and then tragedy strikes... In some countries this is called jay-walking and is prosecutable offence.

I seriously hope the authorities will consider building an overhead bridge in the area so that parents and children will be able to cross safely to their other side of the road. How much is the price of one life compared to the cost of building an overhead bridge?

Perrier Anyone?

My full review of the Lamb Shank Briyani @ Sheraton as heard @ The Jenny M Show on Kristal FM this morning:

  • It was HUGE! Big serve perfect for hearty appetites!
  • The lamb was tender and juicy.
  • The sauce was great, just nice and not too spicy. It was served on the side which was good so you can use as much or as little as you like.
  • I loved the acar! Very refreshing n tangy and goes very well with the meat (the yellow stuff was mango? If it was, nice twist, me likey).
  • The eggs were the way I like em with my briyani, hard-boiled and deep fried.
  • The rice, I'm not sure if it was basmathi rice but it felt a bit heavy and slightly oily. Taste-wise, it was nyamannn though!
  • One tiny complaint I have though... The pappadums were not drained properly and still had some oil on them, but they were crispy so I close one eye lah...
  • Overall, a very substantial and satisfying meal served along with Sheraton's signature first class service!
My Rating: Two thumbs up from me! If you haven't, book NOW cos the promo ends on 15th Dec!

Tune in to Kristal FM tomorrow at 11.30am when I'll be giving my review of Casino Royale :)

Check out my other reviews:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

JIS Football Funday...






Apparently there are 500 IT related jobs up for grabs over the short to medium term. So the quest for IT-skilled workers has begun and government ministries are recruiting in earnest. I can't help but wonder if we will be able to recruit that many people in such a short time. Even if we did, would skill or talent be the primary criteria?

Update: I like Amieheidi's honest description of what she is and isn't good at. Such a talented girl that one =)

Look up...

Finally, Richard's been acquitted. I do not know the man, nor have I ever met him, but my heart goes out to him for having had to endure two years of incarceration waiting for the court to find him innocent.... Good on ya Richard, and here's to hoping you can pick up your life where you left off two years ago.

Update: I nodded in agreement when I read Borgkingkong's take on the verdict. Our thoughts should also be with the family and loved ones of the three innocent victims.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Nice stretch of road...

Was just reading Fei's piece in BT on information being key to good governance. I couldn't agree more. I'm sure a lot has been discussed and debated about this in EROPA and other similar forums.

I imagine a government so transparent we could actually track the progress of our interactions with the government e.g. applications for business licenses, visas, passports, and even citizenship... all at one click of the mouse button... Pipe dream? Perhaps...

Btw, Fei, if you're reading this, I tried unsuccessfully to put a comment on your latest post earlier today. Am not a liveid nor livejournal user hence anonymous was the only alternative... but cannot post leh...

Oh, and thanks Rano for booking that 50mm 1.8 II for me heheh! Much appreciated bro!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kembali Kita Ke Pasar Gadong (Part II)





This is a continuation of my series on the Gadong Wet Market.
A chef's paradise...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Synergy Panacea To Beat Pandemic...




Over the last two Sundays, we happened to be in the car listening to DJ Dean's show when he opened up the Sheraton Lamb Shank Briyani quiz. On both occasions, we happened to get through on the phone and give the correct answer! What are the odds of that eh?

Anyway, tonight, we redeemed our winnings and went for a night out with the rugrats. The missus and I had the Lamb Shank Briyani and the rugrats had the buffet... Tune in to Kristal FM next Monday between 10am-2pm on the Jenny M show when I'll be calling in to give my full review of tonight's dinner :)

Ya, I also scratched my head when I read the headline "Synergy Panacea To Beat Pandemic" on today's paper...