Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another classic in the making?

So will it be another epic final? If the current forms of the two men contestng the Australian Open Final are any indication, it could well be another epic battle from the two best tennis players at the moment.

Roger Federer will be playing world's number one tennis player, Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open Mens' Final. The last time these two men met in a Grand Slam was during the Wimbledon Mens' Final. It was probably the best tennis match ever played. Nadal won the match, but it was not an easy win; he won the first two sets, lost the next two and won the last set 9-7.

So where would you put your money? Well, mine would be on Nadal winning in four sets.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Best Customer's Complaint Letter...

This letter, re-published from, has been billed as the best and funniest customer's complaint letter ever. The author flew on Virgin from Mumbai to London and was not too impressed by the service of the airlines, which prompted him to write this letter. I could not help but feel impressed with the way the author let out his steam towards Virgin. Apparent--ly, the boss of Virgin, Sir Richard Branson was so impressed with the author's letter that he personally telephoned the author to thank him for the letter.

Read the letter fully here.

So here it is.....

Dear Mr Branson,

REF: Mumbai to Heathrow 7th December 2008
I love the Virgin brand, I really do which is why I continue to use it despite a series of unfortunate incidents over the last few years. This latest incident takes the biscuit.

Ironically, by the end of the flight I would have gladly paid over a thousand rupees for a single biscuit following the culinary journey of hell I was subjected to at the hands of your corporation.
Look at this Richard. Just look at it:
I imagine the same questions are racing through your brilliant mind as were racing through mine on that fateful day. What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?

You don't get to a position like yours Richard with anything less than a generous sprinkling of observational power so I KNOW you will have spotted the tomato next to the two yellow shafts of sponge on the left. Yes, it's next to the sponge shaft without the green paste. That's got to be the clue hasn't it. No sane person would serve a desert with a tomato would they. Well answer me this Richard, what sort of animal would serve a desert with peas in:
I know it looks like a baaji but it's in custard Richard, custard. It must be the pudding. Well you'll be fascinated to hear that it wasn't custard. It was a sour gel with a clear oil on top. It's only redeeming feature was that it managed to be so alien to my palette that it took away the taste of the curry emanating from our miscellaneous central cuboid of beige matter. Perhaps the meal on the left might be the desert after all.

Anyway, this is all irrelevant at the moment. I was raised strictly but neatly by my parents and if they knew I had started desert before the main course, a sponge shaft would be the least of my worries. So lets peel back the tin-foil on the main dish and see what's on offer.

I'll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine it's Christmas morning and you're sat their with your final present to open. It's a big one, and you know what it is. It's that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.

Only you open the present and it's not in there. It's your hamster Richard. It's your hamster in the box and it's not breathing. That's how I felt when I peeled back the foil and saw this:

Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking it's more of that Baaji custard. I admit I thought the same too, but no. It's mustard Richard. MUSTARD. More mustard than any man could consume in a month. On the left we have a piece of broccoli and some peppers in a brown glue-like oil and on the right the chef had prepared some mashed potato. The potato masher had obviously broken and so it was decided the next best thing would be to pass the potatoes through the digestive tract of a bird.

Once it was regurgitated it was clearly then blended and mixed with a bit of mustard. Everybody likes a bit of mustard Richard.

By now I was actually starting to feel a little hypoglycaemic. I needed a sugar hit. Luckily there was a small cookie provided. It had caught my eye earlier due to it's baffling presentation:

It appears to be in an evidence bag from the scene of a crime. A CRIME AGAINST BLOODY COOKING. Either that or some sort of back-street underground cookie, purchased off a gun-toting maniac high on his own supply of yeast. You certainly wouldn't want to be caught carrying one of these through customs. Imagine biting into a piece of brass Richard. That would be softer on the teeth than the specimen above.

I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was relax but obviously I had to sit with that mess in front of me for half an hour. I swear the sponge shafts moved at one point.

Once cleared, I decided to relax with a bit of your world-famous onboard entertainment. I switched it on:

I apologise for the quality of the photo, it's just it was incredibly hard to capture Boris Johnson's face through the flickering white lines running up and down the screen. Perhaps it would be better on another channel:

Is that Ray Liotta? A question I found myself asking over and over again throughout the gruelling half-hour I attempted to watch the film like this. After that I switched off. I'd had enough. I was the hungriest I'd been in my adult life and I had a splitting headache from squinting at a crackling screen.

My only option was to simply stare at the seat in front and wait for either food, or sleep. Neither came for an incredibly long time. But when it did it surpassed my wildest expectations:

Yes! It's another crime-scene cookie. Only this time you dunk it in the white stuff.

Richard.... What is that white stuff? It looked like it was going to be yoghurt. It finally dawned on me what it was after staring at it. It was a mixture between the Baaji custard and the Mustard sauce. It reminded me of my first week at university. I had overheard that you could make a drink by mixing vodka and refreshers. I lied to my new friends and told them I'd done it loads of times. When I attempted to make the drink in a big bowl it formed a cheese Richard, a cheese. That cheese looked a lot like your baaji-mustard.

So that was that Richard. I didn't eat a bloody thing. My only question is: How can you live like this? I can't imagine what dinner round your house is like, it must be like something out of a nature documentary.

As I said at the start I love your brand, I really do. It's just a shame such a simple thing could bring it crashing to it's knees and begging for sustenance.

Yours Sincerely...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

O-Levels Results Out!

Apparently, the results for the Brunei GCE O-levels have been released.

Do you know where one could get a copy of the results??

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Belated Birthday

A belated birthday wish to a niece who celebrated her birthday last week.

Happy Birthday Fia!

Manchester United Wins

All the talk before last evening's match against West Brom Albions concentrated on the absence of many key players to various injuries. There were talks that Manchester United would be a weakened team and there were questions if Manchester United could sustain the challenge for its eleventh Premiership honour.

Manchester United produced one of the best performance this season, beating West Brom Albions 5-0 at the Hawthorns. The main three payers, Berbatov, Tevez and Ronaldo scored; Ronaldo scored his first goals in ten weeks. It also marked the return of Rio Ferdinand after a bout of back injury kept him out of the squad. Some players also played despite being declared injured in the days building up to this match. It was a record-setting victory, as Manchester United now goes eleven matches without conceeding a goal.

Now it's up to Liverpool to keep up the pressure on Manchester United, who now sits at the top of the league, three points and 7 goal difference more than Liverpool. Liverpool will play against Wigan Athletics at the JJB Stadium.

Manchester United's next BPL game will be against Everton, the blue side of Liverpool and probably the real team of Merseyside ;), on Monday, 2 February at Old Trafford.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Manchester United Round-up

In the past week, Manchester United stepped up their conquest for five major trophies this season.

Last Wednesday, Manchester United booked their place in the League Cup Final at Wembley on 1 March 2009 after beating Derby County. Manchester United lost the first leg 1-0 and won the second leg 4-2, to win by a 4-3 aggregate. In the Finals, Manchester United will meet Tottenham Hotspurs, who beat Burnley to reach the Finals.

In the FA Cup Fifth Round match, Manchester United beat Tottenham Hostpurs 2-1 to play either Derby County or Nottingham Forest in the Last 16 Round. The winner of this match will proceed to play in the Quarter Finals. Paul Scholes scored a screamer, his first goal since many months ago.

This evening, Manchester United will play West Brom Albions who sit at the bottom of the league table. On paper, this should be an easy win for Manchester United, but at least eleven players are on the injury list, causing a big headache to Sir Alex. Among the injured players are Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Nani, Anderson,Partice Evra, Park Ji-Sung, Wes Brown, Jonny Evans, Fabio and Rafael da Silva, Owen Hargreaves and Danny Welbeck. The list is missing only a goalkeeper, otherwise they could form another team, of probably equal, or even higher, stature as tonight's opponent. One good news, Cristiano Ronaldo should play tonight.

Just hope Sir Alex can weave his magic again tonight and take us further towards that eighteenth Championships honour.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Moo Year!

Here's wishing all my Chinese friends, colleagues and associates a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year of the Earth Ox. Hope the new year brings good luck, fortune and health to all.

Gong Xi Fa Chai!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Long Weekend

Another long weekend is upon us once again. The new Chinese Year of the Ox will fall on Monday.

For all those who celebrate it, it will be a time to start a new year of prosperity, wealth, good health and peace. After possibly one of the worst ways to prepare the new year, many people are looking ahead to move on and celebrate the new year with a bang.

For all those who don't, it is the time to take a well-deserved break. It has been a quite an eventful start to the year. Some are affected by the floods, landslides and power cuts. Thankfully, almost everything is back to normal.

Anyway, what's your plan for the long weekend? Or more precisely, on the first day of the Chinese New Year? One of the biggest firework shows in Brunei will kick off right on the stroke of midnight. If you happen to be in Kuala Belait, go out around the Pandan and Jalan Maulana areas. You will see an amazing show of firework rivalry between the many households around the areas. I can't think of any other place in Brunei where you could witness such spectacle. Take your family out for the show; it only happens once a year. And tomorrow, take your kids out to watch the lion dance. One of my nephews, who is barely two, is a big fan of the lion dance. He has a mini lion dance set, complete with the drum. During a niece's birthday party last weekend, he made an impression on many guests as he danced in his lion dance set.

And don't forget the solar eclipse tomorrow, but please observe the safety precautions.

P.s. I wonder if there is any Chinese belief or if it means something when you have a solar eclipse on the first day of the new year?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oh... Oh...

It's raining again. And it's really heavy....

Hope the worst won't repeat itself.

Wishing all a safe evening....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Landslides and all

As many landslide incidents happened in the past few days, many things have been said and commented. Some people said that the relevant agencies were not prepared for such eventualities. Some people said that the relevant government agencies did not control hillside developments. Some people said the relevant government agencies did not do much to avoid such landslides to happen.

I believe the government should not be solely blamed for the landslides that happened. There are only so much that the relevant government agencies could do, but at the end of the day, it was upto the developers and the property owners to carry out their projects in a more responsible manner. Retaining walls should be built; but not just any retaining wall, it should be strong and able to withstanding whatever nature throws at us. The developers should also built good drainage system. There are many instances that approvals were granted by the relevant government agencies to build such property with stipulated precautions, only for the developers to cut corners and modify their project, without due considerations to the environment and the surroundings.

As of the prolonged power cuts, it is unfortunate that it happened. May be we should be more prepared for the sudden 'disaster' but there are only so much we could do to prepare ourselves. At the end, we cannot really predict what nature may want to throw at us. And has anyone thought that perhaps it is God's way to remind us that we are doing something we are not supposed to do, or we are not doing something that we are supposed to do?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Floods and Landslides

The weather has been quite unpredictable lately. One day it could be nice and sunny, and it could be raining and cold on another. The heavy and persistent rain that befell on Brunei two days ago resulted in one of the worst cases of flooding and landslide in a long while. Many places were flooded, landslides happened almost everywhere and electricity was cut off in many areas, some still do not have electricity until now. But the shocking news that came out from these events was when two lives were lost to the floods and landslides.

The current weather situation is expected to continue until March. And some said there may be repeats of the chaoatic scenes from two days ago. Whatever you do, please take care. Always be on alert and ready to move when you sense danger is coming.

And to my Chinese readers, I hope the weather will settle itself, even for a while, to allow you to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Solar Eclipse in Brunei

It was announced that Brunei will be experiencing a partial solar eclipse on 26 January 2009, from 4.00pm onwards. The maximum eclipse visible in Brunei will occur at about 5.54pm, at a magnitude of 84%. The eclipse will end when sun sets at 6.30pm. The Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalm will be organising a public viewing of the eclipse at the Yayasan Complex in Bandar from 4pm.

The press release on the eclipse below is downloadable fully from here.

Members of the public are advised to observe the safety precaution stated on the press release.

Visit the website of the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam at

The next solar eclipse visible in Brunei Darussalam will take place on 22 July 2009, but it is expected to be of a lesser magnitude.

P.s. I wonder if there will be similar public viewing in KB area?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Manchester United Remains On Top

Another football-related post and someone may complain again, but I could not contain my excitement as Manchester United remains at the top of the Barclays Premier League, without having to kick a football.

In a Monday evening fixture, Liverpool was held at home by the other Merseyside team. Steven Gerrard scored on the 69th minute and Liverpool was looking at collecting the full 3 points from this game. However, Everton's Tim Cahill read a different script and scored a late equaliser to put a dent on Liverpool's title aspiration.

With last night's game completed, Manchester United and Liverpool occupy the top spots, but Manchester United has a bigger goal difference than Liverpool and still has one game in hand.

In another development, Manchester City was reported to have terminated the discussion to bring the former World Player of the Year, Kaka, to the City of Manchester Stadium. The Brazilian was touted as the first player to reach the GBP100 million transfer figure mark, but it looked like he will not leave San Siro. The AC Milan player probably noticed the precarious position of Manchester City in the league table!

Just a thought: if the tranfer of Kaka had materialised, do you not think that it would make the football transfer market upside down? Perhaps, it should be regulated by Fifa, as to protect the smaller and less rich teams.

And can a big-named player change a team? Is there such a thing as a one-man team? Manchester City bought Robinho at the start of the season and it was said that Manchester City would be a team to be reckoned with this season, but just look at where it stands at the moment: on 11th place, just four points away from the relegation zone.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Driving in the wet condition.....

The weather in the past week has not been quite favourable if you do a lot outdoor activities. And that includes driving. I spend an hour per day commuting to and fro work and in the past few days, I observed some dangerous driving behaviour. Just this morning, this car must be going at a speed in excess of 100km per hour in heavy rain. This behaviour was dangerous, not just to him, but to other road users too. If he could not be bothered with his own safety, I would not think he would with others' too.

Anyway, here are some tips on driving in the wet condition (as taken from Goodyear's website):

1. Routinely check your tyres...
Always check your tyres before you hit the road. Make sure you do the following routine maintenance: Keep your tyres properly inflated. The correct air pressure for your tyres is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and can be found on the vehicle door edge, door-post, and glove box door or fuel door. It is also listed in the owner's manual. The number listed on the side of the tyre is not the recommended air pressure for your tyre -- it is the maximum air pressure for the tyre. You should check your tyre's air pressure at least once a month. Check the tyre's tread depth. Proper tread depth will help prevent skids and aquaplaning.

2. Slow down.
As rain falls, it mixes with grime and oil on the road creating slick conditions perfect for skids. The best way to avoid skidding is to slow down. Driving at a slower pace allows more of the tyre's tread to make contact with the road, which leads to better traction.

3. Know how to recover from a skid.
Skids can happen even to the most cautious drivers. If your car does skid, remember not to slam on the brakes. Do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Instead, apply firm, steady pressure to the brakes and steer the car in the direction of the skid.

4. Keep your distance from the car ahead.
Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls - steering, clutch, brake and accelerator - and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and can easily slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators are working properly. It takes about three times longer to brake on wet roads than it does on dry roads. As more distance is required to brake, it is important not to tailgate. Keep more than two car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.

5. Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you.
Avoid using your brakes. Whenever possible, slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator. Turn your headlights on, even in a light rain. Not only do they help you see the road, but they'll help other drivers see you. If your car has daytime running lights, you should turn them on, so vehicles behind you can see you better.

6. Prepare for your journey.
Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls - steering, clutch, brake and accelerator - and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and liable to slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators are working properly.

7. Learn how to avoid and deal with aquaplaning.
Aquaplaning happens when the water in front of your tyres builds up faster than your car's weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tyres and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane, or even off the road. To avoid aquaplaning, keep your tyres properly inflated, maintain good tread on your tyres and replace them when necessary, slow down when roads are wet, and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tyre tracks left by the cars in front of you. If you find yourself aquaplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the accelerator until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do so gently with light pumping actions. If your car has ABS, then brake normally; the car's computer will mimic a pumping action, when necessary.

8. If the rain becomes too heavy, stop!
Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades, allowing an almost continuous sheet of water to flow over the screen. When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at rest areas or other protected areas. If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on your hazard warning lights to alert other drivers.

9. First rains make the road very slippery.
The first rains always make the roads the most difficult to drive on, as the mud and oil on the dry road combines with the water and forms a rather slippery layer. Drivers are likely to experience reduced control, and are cautioned to be extra careful for the first half-hour after it begins to rain.

10. Cloudy weather reduces visibility.
Use extra caution when passing other vehicles.

11. Dry your brakes after driving through standing water.
If you have driven through standing water deep enough to get your brake shoes wet, apply the brakes lightly to dry them.

12. Don't drive while fatigued.
Stop at least every couple of hours or every hundred miles to rest.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

On the top....

Manchester United won this weekend's Barclays Premier League game against Bolton Wanderers by a single late goal from Berbatov. In a match that Manchester United had difficulties to dominate and with the match seemed to be destined to be a draw, Berbatov headed a goal in the dying minutes of the match. Manchester United seemed to miss the presence of Wayne Rooney and his replacement, Carlos Tevez, did not seem to fit into his boots well. Carlos Tevez had quite a frustrating game; misfiring on some occasions and seemed to lose the ball quite a lot. He was about to be substituted when he managed to wiggle free from two Bolton Wanderers defenders and crossed the ball for Berbatov to head in the winning goal.

In other matches, Chelsea came from 1-0 down to score two goals, including one deep inside the injury time, to beat Stoke City and Aston Villa similarly score two goals, including one penalty from Garth Barry after trailing 1-0 tp Sunderland. Two struggling teams at the bottom three of the league table, West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers, won their respective games by similar goal line of 3-0. 

With the matches completed, Manchester United now sits at the summit of the league table, one point more than Liverpool which will only play on Monday evening. Chelsea remains on third place and Aston Villa is forth. West Bromwich Albion moves off the foot of the table and Blackburn Rovers moves out of the relegation zone. 

And oh, it was Manchester United's consecutive eleventh clean sheet in the Barclays Premier League. If I am not mistaken, it equals the current record held by Chelsea.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

First B'day.....

Here's a birthday greeting to Baby Batrisyia's who celebrates her first birthday today.........

Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Coming Through.....

After an incredible win over Chelsea on Sunday, Manchester United continued to close the gap between them and the Barclays Premier League leader with a narrow win over Wigan Athletics at Old Trafford. The win brought Manchester United to within two points of Liverpool, while they still have one game in hand.

In next weekend's fixture, Manchester United will play away at the Reebok Stadium against Bolton Wanderers, an unpredictable team which currently lies in the twelveth position. Bolton Wanderers has been known as a boogey team to many top teams, therefore Manchester United have to tread carefully over the Reebok Stadium turf. If Manchester United wins this match, they will leapfrog Liverpool, who will not play until Monday evening.

However, the win over Wigan Athletics came at a price. After scoring the sole goal in the match in the first minute of play, Wayne Rooney had to be substituted on the seventh minute following a hamstring injury, which may sideline him for three weeks. It is now quite a worry to note that the injury list at Old Trafford is getting longer. Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves are among the other players in the injury list. However, Sir Alex Ferguson was confident that Manchester United would be able to maintain the strength anf momentum of the past few weeks with a large squad available at his disposal.

It is also reported that Manchester United is chasing a GBP14 million-rated Wigan Athletics midfielder, Wilson Palacios. Apparent--ly, he is also a target for Tottenham Hotspurs, which currently lies in the bottom three of the BPL. But isn't the Manchester United midfield getting a bit too congested now?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why do smokers do it?

I was at a majlis bertahlil last night and I was sitting under one of the tents available. As everyone finished eating, some guys were lighting up their cigarettes and smoking away. Why are some smokers selfish and irresponsible by lighting up while in the company of people who don't smoke? Why do they smoke and blow their smoke in your face? Isn't smoking prohibited when there are more than three people in an assembly?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hit the button!

Doesn't this happen to most of us almost every morning?

(from Borneo Bulletin Tuesday, 13 Jan 09)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

World Player of the Year

As expected, Cristiano Ronaldo has been named FIFA's World Player of the Year. The accolade came as Ronaldo helped Manchester United to retain the Barclays Premier League title and went on to become the European Champions. In the 2007-2008, he scored 42 goals, a amazing feat for a midfielder.

Lets hope he can re-capture his brilliance this season and help Manchester United to its third consecutive BPL title.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

11 Januari.....


Just a few days ago, there was this email circulating in the internet (well, at least in Kuala Belait), warning motorists about the behaviour of the owner and workers of this workshop that you may find across the KB Fire Station. From the original letter, many people added to this and shared their experiences with the workshop. 

And in the newspapaer today, you see this.......

This is not the first time the internet has been used to spread this kind of letter. Regardless of whether it is true or not, malicious or not, and libellous or not, there are other avenues to express your dissatisfaction. 

Choose the right way or you'll end up having to apologise publicly!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


It's raining non-stop here in KB. Unevitably, many low-lying places are flooded and roads are wet and slippery. Whatever you do, please do so with care. Drive safely. Don't drive too fast if the road is wet. If your area is flooded, make sure no animals come in into your house too. Make sure you after the children. And make sure your electrical appliances do not get wet.

Be safe.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Kids On The Block....

This week marks the start of the new school year. This is also the week that many hundreds of children start their life as students. Among them are two of my nephews.

One of them started school at the Tunas Jaya PGGMB School in KB. Apparently he started well, until some kid started to cry and everyone, including my nephew, joined in! When he came home, he complained that school was boring! He skipped his second day at school, as he was unwell. School can't be that bad, eh Boboi? This was him as he started his first day at school.

Another goes to this school in Bandar. Apparently, when he came home on the first day of school, he complained to one of the maids that his school was far from Hua Ho Department Store or else it would have been fun....

Kids nowadays.....!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

7.5 x 2 = 15.5??

I saw these at one of the department stores in the Seri area. Whoever decides what price of items are to be sold at should be sent back to school to learn simple arithmetic....

One bottle of this shower gel costs BND7.50 .....

.... and 2 similar bottles of the same shower gel should cost ....... BND15.50??

All this time, I thought it was always of better value when you bought in bigger quantity.....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Road Trip to KK

Just a few weeks ago, the family went for a road trip to Kota Kinabalu. It was really unplanned, one day my sisters were telling me that they were on leave for the two weeks and they wanted to go to KK but they did not have any male companions.  So I thought about it; I had always wanted to drive to KK and it had been a while since I went to KK with the family, so I thought why not. 

We stayed at Marina Court Resort Condominium, which was within a walking distance to KK Centrepoint and Warisan Square, two of the more visited place within the city of KK. We were in KK right in the middle of the end-of-year school holidays and the place was filled by Bruneians. At the hotel carpark, for every 2 Malaysian-registered cars, there would be 6 Bruneian-registered cars!

Here are some tips if you decide to drive to KK:
  1. Choose a time when there would be less traffic at the borders. Perhaps, the school holidays and the days around the payday should be avoided.
  2. Start early. If it is school holiday, start even earlier! Apparent--ly, during the last school holiday, the queue at Kuala Lurah started to form as early as four o'clock in the morning!
  3. Be ready to be stuck in a queue. There are eight immigration posts to go through (three Bruneian ones and five Malaysians) and two ferries to board. During our trip, we spent three hours q-ing. 
  4. Bring some food. If you don't intend to stop to buy food, bring some food to munch along the way or while being stuck in the queue.
  5. You might want to top up your tanks in Lumapas and Temburong. A full tank in Temburong will take you into KK and a few days driving in KK. However, Premium Gasoline (minyak hijau) is slightly more expensive in Temburong; it is 54.7 cents per litre in Temburong but 53 cents per litre everywhere else. When you are about to leave KK, fill up your tanks and it may take you upto Lumapas where you could fill up with the cheaper Bruneian petrol. However, this will depend on your driving styles, the time you arrive in Lumapas and if you have to queue. Keep an eye on your fuel gauge as you drive. 
  6. Bring your favourite CD's or load your favourite songs onto your iPod. You will be glad that you have something you like to listen to, rather than listening to radio stations with languages not familiar to you.
  7. Have at least one of your passengers awake throughout the journey. You may chat and avoid boredom and monotony. It may even prevent you from feeling sleepy. Or sing along to your CD's and iPod. And don't forget to bring something to munch and drink, so canned coffee or energy drinks may be useful.
  8. If you have to drive in the evening, reduce your speed and be more alert. The road may not be familiar to you and it is more difficult to drive in an unfamiliar road in the dark. And you do not know the driving habits of the people there.
  9. Look out for the junction to Papar as you get closer to KK. Take the road that takes you along Papar road. It may have more traffic, but it is less hilly and it has less curves.
  10. When you park your car in foreign land, always ensure that you lock your wheels by turning your steering wheel when the engine has been switched off. 
  11. When you return to Brunei, leave early. You may not want to be stuck at Kuala Lurah and have to sleep overnight in your car. It may be a case of so near, but yet so far.....
  12. Enjoy the drive. Drive safely and rest when you are tired.
If you have any other tips, drop them here and let share them!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Immigration Autogates

It was quite rare to see a full Royal Brunei Airlines flight, but that was what I witnessed on my return journey home two evenings ago. It was the last flight from Singapore to Brunei before the school year started and the plane was full of holidaymakers making their way home. If only more RBA flights were like this, it would be a great news to RBA and the local tourism industry.

It was also welcoming to know that there are now immigration autogates at the Arrival Hall of the Brunei International Airport. The autogates were made possible with the introduction of biometric passports in Brunei last year. I had my machine-readable passport (MRP) changed to the biometric one and I took the opportunity to try out the gate. My verdict? It was excellent. It took less than 20 seconds to get cleared by the autogate. The bulk of the time was taken as the machine read the passport, but when it was done, fingerprint scanning would take place almost instantaneously and after that you were through. I was really impressed with the autogate. 

So if you haven't got your biometric passport yet, what are you waiting for?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Un-grand Central

For the second part of our New Year holiday in Singapore, we decided to move away from Hotel Re! @ Pearl's Hill to somewhere closer to the Orchard Road area. Hotel Re! @ Pearl's Hill was nice; it was opened six months ago, but the nearest MRT station (Chinatown or Outram Park) was a good 10 minutes away. And it being on top of Pearl's Hill would mean that, if you decide to walk back to the hotel, you would have to walk up the hill, which could be tiring after spending many hours on your feet chasing that special offer somewhere.

So we moved to Grand Central Hotel, as it was cheap and its location at the end of Orchard Road was perfect for us. However, we knew why it was cheap. The hotel looked really run down and did not bear any sign that it was ever renovated since it was opened. The fixtures were falling off and looked old fashioned. The mattress seemed to be well worn and the linen looked as if they have gone through 1000+ washes. There was no safe deposit box and the air-con seemed to fail in the evening. Apparent--ly, the hotel was frequented by people from the region who seeked medical treatment in Singapore. It was perhaps true as one of the first things that hit you as you exited the lift was the smell of chinese herbs being brew. There were times when you could smell spices in the corridor.

It was probably the first and last time that I would stay at Grand Central Hotel. You are perhaps better off staying at one of the Hotel 81 chain hotels or paying more at a much better hotel.

Don't say you were never warned!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Just another post....

I am now waiting to catch my flight back home, after spending the new year and the weekend here. Have a few more minutes left before I need to go and board the plane.

Tomorrow will be the first working day for me in 2009. Tomorrow, hopefully, starts a year of increased productivity, efficiency and hard work.

Anyway, I hope to start regular posting tomorrow. Till then, have a good day and see you soon....

Ok, it's time to go. Passport? Check. Boarding pass? Check. Burger King? Check. Bengawan Solo? Check. Duty-free shoppings? Check! LOL!...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Update from Sg

I'm currently staying at a hotel without internet connection. So normal posting will be interrupted. I am stealing some times posting using my Omnia (not iPod Shuffle!) at one of the cafes.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Here's wishing all readers of this blog a Happy New Year. Hope the new year brings happiness, wealth, good health and prosperity to all.

How was your new year celebration? I spent the evening in the company of RedLob and Undersea at Clarke Quay in Singapore. It was busy at Clarke Quay, with live bands and thousands of people welcoming the new year. I would think Undersea would post some pictures on her blog soon.

Have you got your resolutions yet?