Art & Culture

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...

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Si Tanggang and the theory of human origins

2016-03-20 IN THE book “Malay Magic” (1900) written by Walter William Skeat, there were many descriptions of the Malay world-view and of techniques – Malay magic – for dealing with its uncertainties. The Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Society of...

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The missing kingdoms of Borneo

2016-03-13     IN most history text books, one will find that many areas around the Borneo Island to be littered with ancient kingdoms and sultanates. Most of the well-known ones obviously are Brunei or Bo-ni or Po-ni or the various ancient names of Brunei...

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The relationship between Brunei and Minangkabau

2016-03-06 BRUNEI Darussalam is associated with some of the former sultanates in Indonesia. Two in particular was the Sultanate of Sambas and the Sultanate of Matan.   The Sultanate of Sambas connection can be attributed to Sultan Tengah, the first Sultan...

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Colouring craze gives crayon makers a headache

2016-03-03 COLOURING books for grown-ups may be the new lifestyle craze, promising ways to combat stress, unleash our creative spirit and generally take time out from our increasingly tech-frazzled, gadget-obsessed lives. But for the makers of crayons and...

Ghost marriages make a comeback in China

2016-03-03 IN THE remote parts of China, even the dead bachelors stand a good chance of getting hitched these days after a bizzare Chinese custom made a come-back. The Chinese once prescribed to an unworldy custom known as “Ghost Marriages” where men who die...

Sunday, 28 February 2016

The historic gasing

2016-02-28 A SPINNING top, or gasing as it is known in Brunei, is considered a universal traditional game and played in many parts of the world. It does not matter the shape or the design of the top, it will have similar characteristics, which is made up of...

Sunday, 21 February 2016

England’s early relations with Borneo

2016-02-21 IT WAS not until the middle 19th century that the British Government really took an interest in Borneo. However, the East India Company took an interest in Borneo fairly early in its incorporation. It was as far back as 1588 when a group of London...

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Muara coal mines in 1883

2016-02-14 IN SINGAPORE’S newspaper The Straits Times dated March 19, 1883, a short article was published entitled “The Muara Coal Mines (Brunei)” written by an unnamed correspondent who had visited the Muara Coal Mines in Brunei in the early 1880s. The...

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The might of the Brunei miniature cannons

2016-02-07 THERE is a Malay proverb that goes ‘kecil jangan disangka anak; besar jangan disangka bapa’, which can be translated as, ‘just because someone looks small, do not think that he is a child; but just because someone looks big, do not think he is a...

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Borneo’s fearsome ‘loch ness’ monsters

2016-01-31 On February 19, 2009, an English newspaper The Daily Telegraph ran a story entitled “Has the Loch Ness Monster emigrated to Borneo?” For the record, the Loch Ness monster is a mysterious aquatic animal which is said to inhabit Loch Ness, a lake in...

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Bears and humans at Bukit Beruang

2016-01-24 IF A stranger to Brunei drives through from Tutong to Kuala Belait, he will come across a lot of place name signages along the highway and will, indeed, be surprised to find one that reads Perumahan Kampung Bukit Beruang, or “Bukit Beruang Village...

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Brunei’s ‘not-forgotten’ traditional toys

2016-01-19 SQUEALS and laughter of children and adults filled the air recently as they discovered the simple joys of playing with traditional toys during a gathering held at Semain Tanjung in Lamunin. These toys constructed from bamboo are fairly unknown to...

Sunday, 17 January 2016

A 16th century Spanish account of Brunei

2016-01-17 MANY Brunei history enthusiasts are very familiar with Pigafetta’s narratives about Brunei. Antonio Pigafetta was the Italian chronicler who was part of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition around the world in the 16th century. It was his description...

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Brunei and Malacca in the 15th century

2016-01-10 ONE of the best sources for Malay history is the “Sejarah Melayu” or in English is known as the “Malay Annals”. The subjects covered in the work included the founding of the kingdom of Malacca and its relationship with neighbouring kingdoms, the...

Thursday, 7 January 2016

PeSTAB’s contribution to cultural arts

2016-01-07 IN THE recent years, the local creative industry has become prominent in the sultanate, noticeably targeting the youth. The Brunei Arts Enthusiasts Association (PeSTAB) chaired by Awang Seruddin Haji Awang Damit has been striving to boost the...

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