Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Squared!

Today is 31 October. Unless you are in North America and other places that celebrate Halloween, today would mean absolutely nothing to you at all.

Well, unless you are one of the two birthday celebrants in the Bulgemeister's household.

The first birthday shoutout goes to someone who, if you frequent the KB branch of DSTCom, is a familiar face behind the counter. This brother of mine is quite well known in KB; among one of the first few questions I got asked when I bumped into someone that I didn't really know was  if I was his brother. I am always mistaken for being an elder brother; that can't be right, can it?

Happy Birthday Bro!

The second birthday greeting goes to a niece of mine. The forth child (out of six) of my eldest sister. Lasy night, her classmates threw her a surprise birthday party. I thought that was quite nice and sweet of them.

Happy Birthday Bam!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Raya at BM's House

So how did it feel to come down to KB to visit BM's house for Raya?

Read about it here and here!

Guys, thanks for coming. They just proved that KB was still reachable and not too far away from Bandar.....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

KB Immigration's Aidilfitri Celebration

Recently, the KB branch of the Immigration and National Registration depratment organised an Aidilfitri celebration. Among the activities conducted during the celebration were office decoration and group singing competitions.

The Enforcement Section won the first prize for office decoration and came in third in the group singing competition.

Officers and staff of the Enforcement Section
I can't imagine how time consuming and difficult it was to do the decorations; (below) they used colourful threads and plastic strings for their decorations.

The combined Passport Application, Work Visa, Work Permit and Re-entry Visa section won second prize for office decoration and won the first prize in the group singing competition.

Officers and staff of the Passport Application, Work Visa, Work Permit and Re-entry Visa sections
A small part of the second-placed decoration winner.
They recycled old egg trays and other waste in their decorations; just look at the lamp shades.

The combined Social Visit Pass and Re-entry Permit section came in third in the office decoration and second in the group singing competition.

Officers and staff of the Social Visit Pass and Re-entry Permit posing in front of their decorations.

(All pictures and info were provided by the staff of the Immigration and National Registration Department, thanks!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Unnecessary MC......

I am currently off from work for at least two days. I have an eye infection which prevents me from being able to do the things that I would normally do. I couldn't really get out in the sun much so that would prevent me from driving; I could not sit in front of the PC monitor for too long so that would prevent me from doing much work as I rely on the computer for 70% of my work.

It all started on Monday morning, when my right eye felt gritty. Over time, it got worse and it was during the weekly departmental meeting that the eye got really itchy and I obviously rubbed my eye, thinking it was nothing serious. I could not get out of the meeting and as soon as I finished my meeting I took off my contact lenses. The damage had been done, I could not see properly and walking in the sun towards the car for lunch was really difficult. I could not open my right eye too much as it would hurt. 

In the evening, I could not bear it any longer and went to the hospital. I got my eye irrigated and I had an eye patch over my right eye.... arrrr matey! I was given a one-day medical leave and was asked to come back to the eye clinic today.

At the eye clinic, I was told that I had an infection on my right eye. It was probably caused as I had recently changed the brand of my disposable monthly contact lens. The eye doctor explained that once my eyes got used to one particular brand of contact lenses, it would be difficult to switch to another brand. It had something to do with the sterility of the solution as well. My body might have thought that it was a foreign body that it started to react against the contact lens. I was given some antibiotics eye drops and another day of medical leave. I was asked to come back on Thursday for a follow-up.

I have not realised that changing contact lenses could have caused the infection. For all you contact lens wearers out there, please follow the necessary precautions and tips on contact lens use closely. Click here for more info. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dinner at I-Lotus

On Saturday night, the Lunchgang and spouses were treated to a 'Thank You' dinner by the newly-wedded couple, Oliver and Letricia

Some people could not attend; Kakarrot and wife had some visitors, BC and wife were away from the country, and NH and RD had a prior engagement.  

Our food of the night......

The diners of the night...

WW and hubby

Mr. Prez and wife

Two long-lost friends reunited...

And last, but definitely not the least, Oliver & Letricia...
Thanks for the dinner!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Now it's gone.....

I picked this up from Blacksnail's Blog and thought I might share it here. 

How many of you realised that there was this mysterious, unmarked and fenced grave right in the middle of Bandar Seri Begawan? It was located right in front of the General Post Office.

Many speculations were around of whose grave it was; at one time I was told that it belonged to a 'witch' (nenek kebayan) and another it belonged to an Ulama. I also heard stories that every Thursday night, you could see smoke rising from the grave; something that I didn't think ever got verified.  

Brunei Resources wrote about it, and since he was quite an historian himself, I tend to believe his version of the story.

Anyway, Blacksnail reported that the whole grave might have been removed. 

(Picture was taken from Blacksnail's Blog)

So what happened? Shouldn't it be kept as an historical site? 

It looks like the relevant authorities here do not feel the need to preserve and maintain historial places/buildings in Brunei. I was dismayed when the old Churchill Memorial Building was turned into the Royal Regalia Building. I was quite disappointed when the old building of Ministry of Finance in Bandar was renovated and the outer walls were covered by metal sheets. The old Police Station in Kuala Belait was torn down a while ago when it could have been used for something else.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Why is it that P2F, Brunei's own reality show based on American Idol and Akademi Fantasia, spelt Paspot to Fame? Why do they mix Malay (Paspot) and English (Fame)?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Holiday on ..... Brunei

This video has been online for a while now. Brunei was featured in British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)'s Holiday programme a while ago.

Regardless of what you might have heard or read of Brunei, it is still a wonderful place to live in. It's peaceful and relatively troublefree. How many of you can say the same things about some of its neighbours?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A grim reminder....

The sudden and unexpected demise of a colleague from work has shocked many people. No one seems to know the exact cause of death, but a death at a relatively young age of 52, normally points to either accident-related death or heart-related problems. I had seen the deceased taking part in many of the Work Life Balance (WLB) activites at work; be it running, hiking or hill climbing. The deceased seemed to be an active and fit person, but his death brought home the message that even if you think and look fit, death could just come anytime.

According to the Health Information Booklet 2006, produced by the Ministry of Health, heart disease was the second most common cause of death in Brunei after cancer. Hypertensive diseases was the fifth most common cause of death.

As far as I know, we do not have a family history of heart problems. However my mother died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 60 and it somehow made me think differently now. On her death certificate, her cause of death was heart failure. My Mom was not a fan of the hospital. I could not remember if she was ever admitted to the hospital. All her sixteen children were born at home; something that does not happen anymore nowadays. The only times that she would go to the hospital were for pre- and ante-natal checkups. There were times when I asked myself whether we could have spotted her meduical problems if we had taken her for her medical checkups. I really could not answer that and there is no point to dwell on that question anymore; at this time, we learn from our past and make sure that we look after ourselves.

In the past few days, the Lunchgang have been talking about keeping healthy, ironically during lunch. Meals should not be skipped, rather we should keep it in moderation. Do not forget to exercise. Spare some time, albeit half an hour per week, to exercise. And it does not have to be strenuous; for example, rather than going around the Mall many times trying to find that elusive parking spot right in front of the entrance, park your car at the Wet Market and walk to the Mall.

Read more about heart diseases here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

BPL So Far....

After a round of seven games (well, it's eight games for the rest of the other teams), Manchester United is now on a more familiar place; in the top five of the Barclays Premier League table. Manchester United started this season's BPL campaign slightly off-mark, with a loss to Liverpool, but recovered to win the last three BPL matches. With seven games played, Manchester United won four games, drew two and lost on, collecting 14 points. Chelsea and Liverpool lead the pack with 20 points, propped up by Hull City (17 points) and Arsenal (16 points). 

Hull City surprised most people as it sits on the third place, winning 5 games including a famous away victory over Arsenal. It remains to be seen if Hull City could keep the momentum towards the end of the season.

Two other teams surprised many people too, but for the wrong reason. Newcastle United and Totenham Hotspurs now sit at the bottom of the table. Newcastle United has six points from one win and three draws; while Tottenham Hotspurs has yet to win any games and the only points that it has now comes from two draws. 

The next match for Manchester United will be a Champions League game against Celtic at Old Trafford. The match will start at 2:45am Brunei time on Wednesday 22 October. The next BPL match for Manchester United will be an away match against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, 25 October. 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oliver's Wedding Pics

If you would like to see more pictures from Oliver and Letricia's wedding, please go here.

During the wedding reception, a video (made by Masamichi Studio, I think) was supposed to be shown, but due to some technical problem, it was never shown. So here is the video in full.

Thanks Ollie for the links and allowing me to put them here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008


A series of pictures of various people with Dad...

I like this picture; I wonder what they were talking about before this picture was snapped.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri

Before I start to show pictures from the Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri (Open House) which we had on Sunday, let me thank CL for the lovely macaron that she gave me for Hari Raya. I thought it was very thoughtful and kind of her to give me those macarons. She also gave me some of her home-made cupcakes. Thanks CL!

So here are pictures from the Open House.....

Our guests.

One of the labels that I had to print as people started to arrive for the Open House.

One of the highlights from the Open House: a spit-roasted lamb. It did not last that long, it was stripped off the meat within a few hours of the Open House started.

Another dish served on the day.

Some of our guests commented that our Open House reminded them of the Ramadhan Stalls!

Amin's strange sleeping position.

These two cousins liked to pose for the camera.

Another highlight: chocolate fountain.

From the Fritters' Corner.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm away.....

By the time you read this, I'd probably have left Brunei for a business trip. I should be back in a few days' time.

I am not too sure if I will have access to the internet, so the blog may not get updated. 

Take care and see you soon!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ambuyat Semangkuk Agung.....

I was making a quick shopping trip when I walked in the frozen section and something in a white box caught my eyes.......

Yeah, it was a box of instant ambuyat. Ambuyat is one of Brunei's local delicacy. Read about it more here and here.

So what can you find in the box?

A: ambuyat
B: pais ikan (smoked fish), see here for more info
C: sambal belacan
D: dip for the ambuyat
E: preserved fish
F: bamboo shoot

The box also contained 3 pairs of candas (chopsticks) and an instruction on how to do it.

It is actually nice to see this being marketed. Perhaps one day you'll find this in Chinatown of London, Sydney, New York, Los Angeles and Paris?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Raya Open House

It is now becoming a trend here in Brunei to organise an Open House, where guests are invited to enjoy an usually more elaborate food spread than any other days in Syawal. Like many families, we have ours today. Notice the present tense, HAVE.... it's already 11.00pm, but we are still receiving visitors to our Open House.

This is now becoming the family's annual event. Normally, almost everyone in the family prepares something for the Open House and as a result, the Open House turns into a mini food stall, with each person trying to outdo each other with the food being offered. This year alone, we have a total of at least 8 stalls, ranging from fritter corner, soto, roti jon, pop corn and ABC to dim sum, kolo mee, spaghetti, lontong, lakso and the all-time favourite, roti canai. We also have the normal fare of local malay dishes, but visitors tend to choose the other food over the normal malay dishes. 

We started doing this kind of Open House since five years ago; the only time we missed it was last year as we thought it would quite inappropriate to organise an Open House in the first year of Mom's passing. 

Photo reports will follow soon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

NBT Treasure Hunt - In Pictures

With three friends, I took part in the 12th NBT Treasure Hunt which took place on 6 July 2008. While trawling the NBT website for information on the upcoming Classics Concert, I stumbled upon the report on the Treasure Hunt and saw this picture......

Yup, that was us doing the first task of the day: to pose as a tribe on a hunt, while one of us had to pose as the one being hunted. Our creativity went overdrive and we spent a lot of time thinking on the pose and the props used.

The report on the 12th NBT Treasure Hunt can be seen in full here. Our picture appears on this page.

Public Announcement Service....

Syawal is only a week old and I am sure that with the weekend coming, there will still be open houses and visits to be done.

Just a word of advice to all: hosts and visitors alike. Please look after your belongings while you are in the company of strangers. I have heard this story before, but here is another, as told by CL on her blog and this is something she witnessed herself.

It's quite disappointing to know that in the spirit of Aidilfitri, hosts open their houses to visitors, only to be taken advantage of. That is not what Aidilfitri is all about.

So be very careful.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I have friends commenting that I take a lot of pictures of inanimate objects and it becomes our joke whenever we go out for dinner/coffee. So I decided to do some a bit more challenging: taking pictures of children.

Taking pictures of children may be a bit more difficult to do, compared to taking pictures of glasses or boxes. You would first have to get the attention of the children, as they tend to be scared of the camera pointing at them. Once you get their attention, you have to get the children to stay still. I have quite a lot of shots taken as the children looked away. One of my nephews liked to move towards me as I was trying to compose my shots.

But, as much as it is difficult to photograph the children, it is also a rewarding experience. Once the children get comfortable with the camera pointing their way, they would do all sorts of poses for the camera. I have this nephew who would actually pull my hands and asked me to take pictures of him. It is fun to be able to show them the results right away and this can encourage them to pose more. It is also fun to be able to capture the children doing things they love: having fun and fooling around.

In this series of photographs, all the models are my nieces and nephews.

There are times when this girl would not stand in front of the camera, but I managed to make her smile for me here.

This is my biggest model; in one of the pictures, he posed as a Cicak Man.

This boy was giving me his 'ugly face' (muka bida!).

This girl smiles in the mere sight of a camera and she's only 8 months old.
I put her on top of a car and she was terrified of the height, which you could see on her face.

These two are cousins and they spend their time playing together a lot. I asked them to hold hands and if you look carefully, they were trying to hide it from the view.