Sunday, 28 August 2016

Brunei in 1916, 100 years ago

2016-08-28 WITH the closing of the 2016 Olympics, not many remember that the 1916 Olympics which was supposed to have taken place in Germany never took place. In that year the world was ensnared in the first World War. In July to November 1916, in the Battle...

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Loss of Labuan island

2016-08-14 DURING Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II’s skirmish with the British in the mid-1800s which resulted in the loss of the Labuan Island, there were a number of books published by different authors giving accounts of the ‘battle’ between the British...

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Brunei’s Sultan Abdul Majid and Emperor Yongle

2016-08-07 ON MAY 12, 1958 villagers of Yinxi at Yu Hua Tai District in Nanjing, China discovered a tomb in a nearby forest. Nanjing was a historic city with many artefacts left throughout the ages that at first the find did not arouse much attention. It was...

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Origins of Chinese silk

2016-07-31 IT WAS in November 2014 when Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced plans to create a US$40 billion development fund, which would help finance China's plans to develop the New Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road. The Maritime Silk Road, officially...

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The beginning of the Maritime Silk Road

2016-07-03 OVER the last two weeks, 15 researchers and I were guests of the Chinese as part of an ASEAN delegation of think tanks visiting and discussing with our counterparts in China. The journey took the delegation from Beijing in the North of China to...

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Japanese street art: Not quite Banksy, but trying

2016-06-14 BENEATH the crackle and hum of Japan’s neon veneer, graffiti culture has traditionally been viewed as mindless vandalism assaulting the country’s highly valued sense of order and cleanliness. Tokyo’s lanes are virtually bare of the edgy street art...

Dutch expo reveals ‘back to back’ art works

2016-06-14 FOR centuries many have pondered what lies behind the Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile, but it was more of a rhetorical question. Now art lovers can literally discover what the back of Da Vinci’s masterpiece looks like. In a unique and quirky Dutch...

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Looking at Brunei history through Spanish eyes

2016-06-12 THIS week’s article continues on the narratives of the chapter on Brunei as written in the Boxer Codex. The Boxer Codex is a book written about Philippines and the surrounding region during the Spanish administration around the late 16th century....

Sunday, 5 June 2016

History of Brunei through Spanish eyes

2016-06-05 A DOCUMENT found by a historian by the name of CR Boxer in 1947 may have a profound effect on Brunei’s history. The manuscript called the ‘Boxer Codex’ is described as a manuscript dating from the late 16th century and containing about 270 pages of...

Sunday, 29 May 2016

History of Brunei through Spanish eyes

2016-05-29 TO students studying history in primary and secondary schools, history can be a very dry subject. To them every fact, every date, and every opinion have already been locked in place. Their task seemed to be to memorise and regurgitate them during...

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Murder of the Brunei British Resident

2016-05-22 THE citizens of the Straits Settlement Colony in Malaya and Singapore saw this headline on The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser on 22 May 1916 ‘Brunei Acting Resident murdered’. If there was a newspaper in Brunei at that time, many...

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Brunei’s ancient exports

2016-05-15 TODAY, Brunei’s main export is pretty well known even to non-Bruneians. Our oil and gas exports are the main items driving our export markets and the nation’s income. But oil was only discovered in 1929 in Seria. However, historians have indicated...

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Looking beyond the treasures in Beijing’s Palace Museum

2016-05-12 THE Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as the “Forbidden City”, wants to prove it’s not only one of the country’s top exhibition venues for cultural relics but also a leading institution for academic studies. With this in mind, the museum...

A glimpse of Philippine culture

2016-05-12 SINGING and dancing are a fundamental part of Philippine culture and can – almost at all times – be found at any function or celebration, such as fiesta, held by Filipinos whether they are in the country or out of it. The people of the Philippines...

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The day Labuan became British

2016-05-08 THE Labuan Island, situated off the mouth of the Brunei River in the Brunei Bay has an area of thirty square miles (78 square kilometres). It was relatively uninhabited when the British took it, being only occasionally visited by fishermen. It was...

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Role of 1,000-year-old beads artefacts in Brunei

2016-05-01 IN TODAY’S world, beads are seen as insignificant trinkets despite their abundance and wide availability in many tourist and fashion retail stores. Beads have always been favourites among the women of the world and many men too covet them. They...

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Brunei’s maritime trade in the past

2016-04-24 THE Maritime Executive website on February 24, 2016, had this news headline “Brunei: Asia’s Newest Trade Hub” as the website reported about the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Brunei and China, and that the sultanate has voiced her...

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Istana Manggalela and Pengiran Shahbandar Hassan

2016-04-17 MANY people who had passed by Jalan Maulana to go to Kuala Belait would have seen Istana Manggalela right after the small roundabout. It is a beautiful small palace and despite it not being used for maybe decades, the palace continues to be well...

Sunday, 10 April 2016

A battle on the coast of Borneo

2016-04-10 IN AUGUST 1845, a British newspaper, the Illustrated London News (ILN), reported a battle between Her Majesty's Ships – HMS Agincourt, HMS Vestal, HMS Dedalus, HMS Wolverine, HMS Cruiser and HMS Vixen – “in all twenty boats and near 500 men...

Sunday, 27 March 2016

The sireh leaf and betel nut culture in Brunei

2016-03-27 IT WAS not that long ago that Bruneians’ mouths were red from chewing their ‘sireh pinang’, which a mixture of ‘sireh’ leaf mixed with tobacco, slaked lime and areca nut. WH Treacher in his book ’British Borneo: Sketches of Brunai, Sarawak, Labuan...