Friday, September 14, 2007

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 migration to wordpress is complete and all posts from today onwards will be at Do bear with me for the next couple of weeks while I figure out the ins and outs of wordpress hehe.

This site will remain visible for archive purposes. Thank you and see you over at the new pad!


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... In the past, hadrah was only performed during weddings, but now it is performed in open events, to greet honoured guests and more significantly to signal the arrival of His Majesty in various events...

... Brunei youths nowadays have done well in preserving the heritage and have even enhanced it. Back then, competition involved only beating of drums and chanting. But now performances are choreographed to make it more attractive and interesting...

... hadrah could be further promoted in Brunei if there is a national association of hadrah set up. "We have a national team for silat and gasing (top spinning), but not for hadrah. We cannot just rely on mukim and schools to promote the activity, it has to be done at a national level...

-- The Brunei Times

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Off to Stanford we go!

Yesterday while sending my old buddy Louis off at the airport, I met Charlene Bong and her family who were off to California where Charlene is due to begin her studies in Physics at Stanford University. Her dad (who's a fellow St.Margaret's Alumni) and I are friends and I could see the joy in his eyes when I spoke to him. I couldn't help feeling so proud of her for being the first Bruneian scholar to be awarded a scholarship to study in the US by Brunei Shell.
Her long list of accomplishments include representing Brunei in the Asian-Pacific Children Convention in Fukuoka, Japan in 2000, SEAMEO Maths Olympiad in Penang in 2005, and the International Physics Olympiad in Singapore in 2006.
Charlene was first featured in the Borneo Bulletin in 1989 for being the first baby to be conceived in Brunei through the IVF treatment. Charlene is one of the earliest IVF (test-tube) babies born in Borneo and her birth in December 1988 at Panaga Hospital was particularly significant at that time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Taurean Mark III

Congratulations Mr and Mrs T on the soft opening of your third Taurean outlet at The Arch, Gadong. The AB gang has a long history with them. Da missus has been supplying the Superlicious ® Home-Baked Brownie Cookies that comes with all hot beverages at Taurean since they opened nearly seven years ago and we're also all members of the Taurean gang since Mr & Mrs T, Da missus and I are all Taureans. Anyway, to Mr & Mrs T, congratulations once again!

Impressive architecture

Like a cosy living room eh?

Ingredients for a good mocktail

The smokers' room

If you haven't done so, do check out the new Taurean Cafe today! They're open till 1am so perfect place to lepak while waiting for sahur :)

Godspeed Old Buddy...

Feels like your visit's been too short me old mate. But I understand the need to get back to your life in Vancouver. Its been a heck of a buzz having you around man! As always, when an old buddy visits from afar, its a catalyst for the ones who are nearby to get together. This is what my old buddy and neighbour Louis (the dude far left in the pic) had to say in my guest book:
5th September 2007: Truly a pleasure seeing you and your family during my visit. Its amazing that although its been 23 years, it felt like time has stood still picking up from where we left off. May the years ahead be filled with great joys and perpetual blessings. Your friend & always your neighbour! Louis.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Winning Eleven!

Ramadhan at The Empire

5th Brunei National Conference on Autism 2007

I was too tied up to attend the conference last weekend but I caught the opening ceremony where they played a video which really touched me. I'll post it once I've uploaded a copy of it. From the Borneo Bulletin:
Bandar Seri Begawan - "Since 2004, 315 individuals have so far been diagnosed with autism in Brunei Darussalam, 50 were diagnosed last year, and 50 more up to June. This means that we have 1:150 autistic births, which is similar to USA.

"These are frightening statistics", said Malai Hj Abdullah bin Malai Hj Othman, President of Smarter Brunei, during the 5th Brunei National Conference on Autism 2007.

"Our present centres could not cope with these numbers and what happens to all the rest who are not registered with Smarter? What future do they have and what will become of our children in the future?"

He spoke of the everyday plight of bringing up a child who is autistic. "Every day activities that we take for granted like brushing teeth is such a battle. Now imagine every little bit of life skills need to be taught in detail and repeatable. It is time-consuming and draining us mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially as well."

He appealed to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Health to provide assistance and support so that the development of the children so far does not falter. Financial aid is needed to cater for the educational support and management of the centre. The need for a bigger building is also needed to accommodate the growing children, especially those approaching their teenage years, not to mention other assistance such as continuous service support to lighten the burden of families with autistic children, he said.

The opening ceremony yesterday was officiated by Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (R) Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Awg Mohammad bin Hj Daud, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.

He said that the negative perceptions concerning Smarter will decrease once its genuine aim and desire of its establishment is realised. He said that Smarter should be given untarnished appreciation in its efforts to lighten the burden of the families with autistic children, and that relevant authorities should give assistance and support in realising the objectives of the association.

The guest of honour viewed the exhibition, which showcased the psychology of autism, how it affects children, books related to autism, and the indoor and outdoor activities organised by Smarter especially for the children.

A paper from Deanne Michaels and Jonathan Yendall on "Paper 7 - Strategies Towards Advocating an Autism Friendly Society" (Support Sytem of US, UK, Canada and Singapore) was presented yesterday.

A parental experience presentation was done by Haslimawati bte Suhaili. Other speakers included Rose Clark, Debbie Smith, and Carlin Lee.

-- by Zasika Musdi

Friday, September 07, 2007

The oldest of friends, the best of times...

The boys and I have been friends since primary school. Thats more than thirty years of friendship. We've all followed our own paths. This gathering was brought on by a visit from one of us who has not been back to Brunei for nearly 20 years.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

These cakes came from the moon?

Empire Hotel's exquisite mooncake promo runs until 25th September. 7 different flavours to choose from. B$8 per piece with an option of beautiful gift box sets of 4 Mooncakes. Call 2418888 ext 7666 to order!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Paintball (Hopping) Mad in Brunei!

From wikipedia:
Paintball is a sport in which participants eliminate opponents from play by hitting them with paintballs (spherical gelatin capsules containing primarily polyethylene glycol, other non-toxic and water-soluble substances, and dye) shot from a compressed-gas-powered "marker".

Insurance statistics show that paintball is one of the safest sports in existence, even more so than tennis.

A game of paintball usually involves two opposing teams seeking to eliminate all of the other team's players or to complete an objective, such as retrieving a flag, eliminating a specific player, or other paintball variations. An average, non-professional game of paintball usually lasts around five minutes to half an hour. Since its inception, paintball has drawn a crowd of both casual and serious players.
From here:
Paintball is currently illegal in Brunei, as the markers are considered firearms under Brunei law. There are paintball games, though, affairs held on private land with markers carefully brought into the country. Team Southern Cobra is working to change the laws. Comprised of players in Brunei and their teammates abroad at medical school in Cardiff, UK, the team lobbies the Brunei government while building a hardcore following of student players in Cardiff.
Last Sunday, in the midst of a paintball tournament held on private premises (of which quite a few had already been conducted), the authorities raided the place, and confiscated more than B$60,000.00 worth of gear. This came as a complete shock to everyone as thus far, the authorities had been silent. Speaking to Brunei's paintball heavyweight, Panglima Manggis, I learnt that there is so far no word from the authorities on when and if all the expensive equipment would be returned.

I've never tried paintball, but it looks like a bonza sport, and its very fast and intense physically. It should give the old ticker a good workout! I really do hope the authorities will consider legalizing this harmless sport so that I can give it a go!

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...