Saturday, October 31, 2009

Former RBAF personnel gets house key

Community project: Director of Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation, Dato Paduka Haji Ali Hashim (C) with members of the Royal Brunei Land Forces looking at the displays on the renovation works of the residence of Corporal (Rtd) Sani Tani in Mukim Sungai Kebun.

FORMER Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) personnel, Corporal (Rtd) Sani Tali shed tears of joy yesterday upon receiving his house key and certificate from the Royal Brunei Land Forces (RBLF) marking the official completion of renovation works on his home in Mukim Sungai Kebun under the RBLF's outreach community project.

The annual project, codenamed "Titian Amal", was conducted by the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) through RBLF to commemorate the RBLF's 48th anniversary which falls on November 4.

The charitable effort is one of the RBAF's social responsibilities in an effort to expose the skills of its personnel to the public, particularly in carpentry, and is a devoted initiative by the RBAF as reflected in the defence policy of Brunei to support the nation especially the less fortunate individuals.

The renovation works on Corporal (Rtd) Sani Tali's residence in Kg Sungai Siamas took two months to be completed and involved the reconstruction of the balcony, roof, pillars, walls and ceilings, which were initially in poor states.

"Alhamdullilah, with the newly renovated home, it would enable my family and I, to live comfortably as well as protect us from the sunshine and rain," the retired Corporal told The Brunei Times.

The father of eight who retired last year expressed his appreciation to the agencies that have contributed in renovating his home and for the aid he received.

The cost of the project was estimated at BND$9,890.00.

The project was initiated in collaboration with the Department of Community Development (JAPEM) in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports as well as the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation (YSHHB), in which both agencies had contributed $5,000 each to fund the cost of the renovation works.

Other additional infrastructural necessities such as manpower and building expertise were facilitated by personnel from the Assault Pioneer Platoon, First Battalion of RBLF.

The official hand over ceremony of the house key and certificate was held at the newly renovated site in Mukim Sungai Kebun and was officiated by the Director of Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation, Dato Paduka Haji Ali Hashim Hj Mohd Daud. Commander of RBLF Brigadier General Haji Aminuddin Ihsan Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin presented them to the Director of JAPEM, Datin Hajah Adina Othman who then presented the key to Corporal (Rtd) Sani.

Also present at the ceremony were the Assistant Director of the Brunei-Muara District Office Haji Haris Hj Othman, the Penghulu of Mukin Kota Batu Pateh Dato Paduka Hj Masri Ismail, Senior Officers of RBLF and other Government agencies.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Criticize Me

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UBD students, staff told: Go 'green', cycle to work

STUDENTS, faculty and staff of the Universiti Brunei Darussalam are encouraged to cycle "more frequently, and to drive less frequently" as the construction of bicycle parks around the campus are now under way, a university official said yesterday.

The bicycle project is part of the UBD Green Project, which is a long-term initiative to the greening of the campus and to help educate the UBD community about environment sustainability and its challenges, said Assistant Vice-Chancellor Dr Hj Junaidi Hj Abd Rahman.

The Banks of Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) yesterday contributed $19,677 to fund the building of bicycle parks which will be carried out in two phases.

The bank's contribution was in support of the UBD's Green Project initiatives launched in October 19, and BIBD officially became the principal partner for UBD's Convo Festival this year.

BIBD's head of product Management and Marketing Solutions Dona Eldayana Johan handed the mock cheque for the contribution to the Vice-Chancellor.

The first phase of the construction of the bicycle park is now under way in four areas around the campus namely. the Student Affairs Section , Educational Technological Centre , Male Residential College , and the Central Lecture Theatre. This phase cost a total of $4,341.

Phase two of the project, which will cost $11, 736, will be carried out in other areas within the campus such as the Chancellor Hall, Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Advancement , Female Residential College , Administration building, Faculty of Business, Economics and Policy Studies , Faculty of Science, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences , Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education , Sports Complex and UBD Mosque.

"It is hoped that the construction of the bicycle parks around the UBD campus will encourage students and staff to cycle more frequently, and to drive less frequently, to the university, thus reducing energy emission," said assistant vice-chancellor.

"Since the establishment of UBD, there have been various initiatives involved in the 'Greening' of the UBD Campus. However, the focus is now on enhancing awareness of the current environmental challenges," he added.

"Cycling is fun, economical, environmentally-friendly and a healthy way to travel. BIBD therefore applauds this initiative," said Dona Eldeyana.

"We at BIBD feel that it is necessary for all university campuses, especially one as big as UBD's to have parking spots for bicycles stationed throughout the campus. With this, we encourage not just the students but also the lecturers and staff of UBD to opt for this healthier travel option and to make full use of these bicycle stands/racks, and the bicycles which UBD will soon provide," she said.

"Hopefully in the very near future, we will have students and staff cycling to the university."

In line with the objective, UBD will be carrying out a campaign called, "Its Fun To Use Bicycle" from October 26 to November 7, to encourage students to promote the idea of cycling around the campus as a healthy and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

In addition to the contribution, BIBD will also be sponsoring the prizes for UBD's Amazing Race 2009, which will be held on October 28. Having a similar concept of the popular TV show "The Amazing Race", the activity is one of the students' initiatives as part of UBD's Convocation Festival activities.

UBD's version of "Amazing Race" will evolve aroung the "Green Concept". There will be 11 checkpoints situated around UBD campus and at each checkpoint, contestants will be faced by a myriad of tasks ranging from cycling to searching for fauna. There will be 28 participating teams with each team consisting of four members. The Champions for UBD's Amazing Race 2009 will each receive $500 while the four first runners up will each receive $300 and the four second runners up will each receive $100.

Monday, October 26, 2009

4 male breast cancer cases in Brunei

FOUR cases of breast cancer in men have been reported in Brunei for the past 10 years, and the numbers may continue to rise if unhealthy lifestyle remains unchanged.

"We are living in an era of unhealthy lifestyle, in a world with fast food and people just get too busy from work that they have no time to exercise. This sort of imbalance in life has been the leading cause for the development of breast cancer, and men are certainly not excluded," said Dr Hj Mohd Syafiq Abdullah, Specialist Oncologist at Raja Isteri Pengiran Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital who was adviser to the Pink Ribbon Awareness programme held yesterday at the Health Promotion Centre.

Dr Hj Mohd Syafiq has recently treated a male patient who suffered from breast cancer. "Though far less common than in women, it is possible for men to develop breast cancer," he added.

Male breast cancer, he said, was not something new, and has been known to affect men for many years. It is a rare condition, accounting for only about one per cent of all breast cancers in each country around the globe. Breast cancer is less common in men because their breast duct cells are less developed than those of women and because their breast cells are not constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of female hormones.

"At the moment we've only received reports of elderly male patients with breast cancer in the country. Older men can easily develop breast cancer due to changes in their hormone balances, and from the four cases that we have received over the past 10 years, they're all in the 50 to 70 age group."

"But this does not mean that younger male are safe from getting cancer. The condition can develop in men of any age. Because of the drastic change in our lifestyle, I can see that there will be younger male patients to develop breast cancer in the future."

"Also, 10 per cent of breast cancer are genetic related or hereditary. When a man is born with two or more X (female) chromosomes, they are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Men who have several female relatives with breast cancer also have an increased risk for development of the disease. Therefore, environmental factors and unhealthy lifestyle may not usually be the main culprit here."

He said that because breast cancer is far less common in men and many men believe that only women get breast cancer, they often ignore the early signs of breast cancer, attributing the symptoms to infection or another cause.

Dr Hj Mohd Syafiq also said that ongoing efforts are needed to raise awareness on male breast cancer as well as the significance of early detection.

"We want to make this awareness for every one, and not just one-gendered. Breast cancer can occur to anyone regardless of gender, and we hope to see that even men can actually visit us at the Health Promotion Centre today to realise this."

That's why when we conduct a talk on the topic, we will always include mentioning that one per cent of breast cancer patient is men, he added.

He said that this was one of the ways to reach the men and acknowledge them about the reality that men are not excluded from developing breast cancer.

"There is a possibility that there are more cases out there, so men who experience signs of breast cancer should see a physician and do a check up right away."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

30 rendered homeless in a fire

THIRTY people lost their homes in a fire that razed 10 terraced residential units in Kg Rimba yesterday. No people were reported injured, though several were lucky to escape with their lives.

An eyewitness who lives nearby said the fire quickly consumed the entire structure, which was made entirely of wood with zinc roofing.

One of the residents who lived in the building said that he and the rest of the workers who live in the homes were on duty in the nearby quarry building and didn't realise that the fire was gutting their homes until they stepped outside from work.

"I have no idea how the fire started. I'm still in shock. By the time we all got out and saw the fire, there was nothing we could do but let the authorities take care of it. Luckily, my wife and child are safe," he said.

"Elizabeth", a wife of one of the workers, was lucky to escape the inferno. "I was having an afternoon nap and didn't even realise that the building was on fire.

"I woke up to the sound of someone yelling, 'Get out!' and when I woke up, I felt the heat and smoke, looked out the window and saw my neighbour's house at the end on fire," she said in tears.

On realising the iminent danger, she rushed to grab her child and quickly gather her important belongings and made it out to safety.

"Everything else has been destroyed by the fire; our laundry that was hung out to dry and my child's school uniform. The only thing I could save was my passport," she said.

In addition to engulfing all furniture and appliances in the homes, the fire destroyed four vehicles parked outside.

The fire began around 3pm near a quarry owned by SKS Sdn Bhd in Simpang 134, Kg Rimba, and took four fire engines from Berakas Fire Station to extinguish the blaze.

The firemen arrived at the scene 10 minutes after receiving the emergency call, bringing the fire under control within minutes.

The Fire and Rescue Department has yet to determine the cause of the blaze.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fruit Festival to boost local produce

TEMBURONG District held its first Fruit Festival for this year at the Tamu Muhibbah Aneka Selera in Bangar Town.

The festival saw 29 vendors, who represented farmers from various villages and mukim in the district, selling a variety of local fruits which were harvested from their own fields.

Visitors to the festival yesterday were also given a treat where a $5 coupon can be purchased in order to enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of available local fruits ranging from durian kuning to jackfruits and rambutans.

The three-day festival also showcases local products manufactured by the various villages in the district in line with the "One Village, One Product" concept envisioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Present to launch the festival was the Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof, who was accompanied by his wife Datin Paduka Hjh Salmah Hj Hanafiah. Also present was Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Dewa Pahlawan Dato Paduka Hj Dani Hj Ibrahim, Temburong District Officer Matusin Orang Kaya Sura Hj Tubaand other senior officials of the ministry.

The festival organised by the Temburong District Office with the support of the Mukim Bokok Village Consultative Council, was aimed at promoting the local fruits grown in the district as well as to provide an opportunity for the fruit farmers to reap rewards that in return boost the community's economy.

"Even though fruit fairs are usually held in the district every season, today's festival is unique as it is the biggest ever organised," said Hj Emran Hj Sabtu, the head of Mukim Bokok who hosted the festival.

He added that farmers of Temburong can now use the festival as a platform to promote their fruit businesses to the public and at the same time, help towards the development of food self-sustainability.

"Also, through this festival, we hope to encourage people to enjoy the local fruits, particularly the younger generation who are still unfamiliar with them."

A local durian vendor, who wished to be known as Hj Siawang said that the annual harvest of fresh fruits is always the best time for a very good sales, and the festival added to the boost which he needed.

"Durians are always a hit. People has came all the way from the capital and bought bundles of them just this morning. I'm making profits already," he added.

Simone Feehily, a tourist from Ireland, came to Temburong District to witness the wildlife and nature, and was lucky to spot the festival being held yesterday morning at the town. "This isn't what I was expecting from my trip to Temburong. The local fruits always amaze me as I get to see them up close and try out the best and freshest at the festival. Brunei is truly a kingdom of unexpected treasure."

Abdul Hakeem, a teacher at a primary school in the district, came to the fruit festival with his colleagues out of curiousity.

"The festival made us all realise that there is still more to discover in Temburong District other than all the hiking or jungle trekking," he said.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back From Hiatus

My time as a journalist has finally paid off, though there is still much to learn and more room for improvement. I think it's time for me to get even more serious with photography, and shift myself further towards photojournalism.

I would like to apologize to my readers who I have neglected these past month. I've been busy at work, and I mean extremely. I'm afraid I won't be as active as I used to be thanks to my line of work. I really miss blogging.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thailand's Minister of Education Visits SEAMEO VOCTECH

Thailand's Minister of Education, His Excellency Jurin Laksanawisit who is also President of The Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) Council, was in Brunei as part of his working visit as the President of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Council to the SEAMEO Regional Centre.

As president of the SEAMEO Council, the visit to SEAMEO VOCTECH yesterday was to gain information on the centre's mandate on strengthening and improving the quality of vocational and technical education and training through human resource development in Southeast Asian countries.

Over the past four decades, SEAMEO and its regional centres have played a significant role in upgrading the region's human infrastructure through cooperation in education, science and culture. "I am very pleased to learn that, since its establishment in 1990, SEAMEO VOCTECH has been dedicated to strengthen and improve the quality of vocational and technical education and training through human resources development in Southeast Asia by conducting more than 450 training courses of vocational and technical education for administrators, educators and technical officers of the SEAMEO region in pursuing its vision as the 'Leading Centre for Excellence,"' the Minister said.He added that under the Centre's motto 'Together We Excel', the Centre will continue to help SEAMEO Member Countries to make vocational education services meet the needs of the region and that the centre can also contribute to a better quality of life of the people through on-going development of human resources in the Southeast Asian region.

"Education and training plays an important role in ensuring more balanced and sustainable socio-economic development of the region. We all recognise the need to equip a new generation of young people, and indeed our existence of workforce, with the 21st Century competencies and foundation skills to support lifelong learning combined with a solid knowledge base they can build on and apply appropriately," he said.

The Thai minister was accompanied by the Thailand Ambassador to Brunei and more than 20 member delegation which comprised of a Permanent Secretary, Secretary Generals and Directors at the Ministry of Education, Thailand.

Brunei bats for food self-sufficiency

Meeting in session: Ibrahim Hj Abdul Rahman (L), Assistant Director of Technical Education and board member of the 57th SEARCA Governing Board Meeting at SEAMEO VOCTECH.

SERIOUS attention should be given to Agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors since they contribute one per cent of Brunei's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and determine the country's ability to reach self-sufficiency in foods.This was stated by Hj Suhaila Hj Abdul Karim, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Higher Education) of the Ministry of Education (MoE) in his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 57th Governing Board meeting of the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) yesterday.

"Brunei Darussalam has oil and gas-based national income, to the extent it depends on imports to meet the local demand for a variety of agro-based products."

He added that the desire for the country to achieve a significantly higher percentage of self sufficiency in agricultural products, especially staple food, has been harboured for a long time and that the government has relentlessly been making careful plans to fulfill those intentions. "Currently, Brunei is putting in place a long-term plan stipulating various plans to diversify its economy."

The deputy permanent Secretary further said that the recently established exchange programme for technological transfer on rice production with the Philippines, shows an example of a serious and concrete plan which is taken by the government through the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.

"Our concern for food security is also very much related and relevant to plans and initiatives in agricultural activities. A need to attract the youth group of our population points to a need for modern farming and technology-based agricultural activities."

At the moment, forestry, fisheries and agriculture sectors only engage around 1,000 workers. "This present an opportunity for Brunei to look at SEARCA assistance in enhancing and addressing related issues pertinent to this sector of our economy."

He shared that his imperative view that that SEARCA has a role to play and should have a deep feeling for concern and should therefore pave the way for strengthening and enhancing collaborative undertakings and cooperation of ASEAN member states through SEARCA.

He spoke of two major initiatives that Brunei has taken the Kuala Belalong Research Field on bio-diversity and the conservation of rainforest, popularly known as Heart of Borneo Project.

"Our efforts to ensure food security through agriculture and our desire to promote conservation of our rainforest will need a wise and carefully worked out steps to be taken to strike a balance between these projects so that truly sustainable development is achievable. "The three-day meeting which began yesterday at the SEAMEO VOCTECH in Gadong, is organised by MoE and is the second tine Brunei is hosting since it joined the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO), the mother organisation of SEARCA, in 1984.

Monday, October 19, 2009

BIBD goes green at Badas Reserve

BIBD's Managing Director Javed Ahmad planting one of the Agathis Bornensis trees at the Badas Forest Reserve

BANK Islam Brunei Darussalam Berhad (BIBD) yesterday planted the first 1,000 of 9,500 Agathis Bornensis saplings that it donated in a ceremony at the Badas Forest Reserve in Seria, in an effort to restore the fire ravaged greenery.

During the event, the guest of honour, Pengiran Anak Khairul Khalil Pengiran Syed Hj Jaafari, planted the 30,000th tree for the Badas 50,000 Trees Project at a plot reserved exclusively for BIBD at the site.Also present to lend their support were Chairman of BIBD, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Haji Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Director of BIBD, Hj Bahrin Abdullah and the Acting Managing Director of BIBD, Javed Ahmad.

Tree buyers who are students from Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College (Maktab Duli), staff of Serikandi Group of Companies and members of the Brunei Association of Hotels also planted their trees at the ceremony. The 150 tree buyers and BIBD staff were greeted by ISB Executive Principal, David Taylor, at the site who then briefed them on the reforestation initiative and supervised the tree-planters. It took them about one hour to plant all 1,000 trees. At the ceremony, BIBD also gave away special badges that read "Proud Owner of A Tree" to tree-planters who purchased trees through the bank. BIBD through its Corporate Social Responsibility's (CSR) initiatives, has successfully exceeded its target to raise funds from the public to purchase 4,000 trees in support of the International School Brunei's (ISB) Million Trees Project.

"The main objective of the bank's strong commitment to the Badas Trees Project and its pledge to match up 4,000 trees was to encourage bank employees and the public to conserve the environment," said Hjh Nurul Akmar Hj Md Jaafar, the Head of BIBD's CSR. She added that the effort was in line with the teaching of Islam which encourages people to plant tree.She hoped that more people will come forward with such move in an aim to conserve the environment for the benefits of today's and the next generations.

In total, BIBD has successfully raised BND47,500 worth of trees for the project. BIBD started its aggressive campaign end of July 2009 as the facilitator for the public to buy trees and it reached its target of 4,000 trees collected from the public at the end of September 2009.

"Today's ceremony is a success on our part, and we hope it's going to be one of many more to come," said BIBD's CSR Treasurer Rafiuddin Ghazali.

He added: "This is an eye-opener for everyone. Hopefully from today's event, we are able to motivate and inspire the public to participate in activities to protect the environment."

BIBD Corporate Communications Manager Sonia Kaur and Guest of Honour Pg Anak Khairul Khalil

"Activities such as this should be promoted and encouraged further especially towards the younger generations.

"It's not just tree planting, but also energy-saving and recycling, are among others that should be instilled in everyone in order to make the world a better place to live in," Pengiran Anak Khairul Khalil told The Brunei Times.

"A job well done to BIBD and hopefully other organisations will follow suit and organise similar activities to preserve the environment," he added.

Endorsed by Heart of Borneo National Council and coordinated by ISB and the Forestry Department under the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, the project aims at planting 50,000 Agathis Bornensis trees by end of the month.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Indonesian delegates pay visit to Ministry of Home Affairs

Working visit: LEMHANNAS officials listening to a briefing conducted by representatives from various departments under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

A DELEGATION from the Indonesian National Resilience Institute (LEMHANNAS) is currently in the Sultanate on a five-day visit to gain information and attain better understanding on the bilateral relations between Brunei and the global, regional and national interests of the Republic of Indonesia.

The delegation consists of 24 participants of the Regular Course Batch 43 of LEMHANNAS, a non-ministry government institution placed directly under the purview of the President of the Republic of Indonesia in carrying out government stewardship in the area of strategic national tenacity and endurance research and training.

Leading the Indonesian delegation was Major General TNI Suroyo Gino, who serves as the Senior Assistant to the Governor of LEMHANNAS.

The visit is part of the regular course organised by the institute under its Strategic Foreign Studies curriculum with the aim to encourage its course participants to learn first-hand of the strategy, pattern and system of the national development of Brunei as a model reference to realise Indonesia's national resilience. Yesterday, the delegates made a call to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

They attended a briefing on the main tasks and the scope of authority of the ministry, the labour and immigration policies and issues, among others.

The briefings were conducted by representatives from the Brunei-Muara District Office, Department of Immigration and National Registration, Labour Department and the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC).

Major General TNI Suroyo also made a courtesy call to Acting Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Orang Kaya Dewa Pahlawan Dato Paduka Hj Dani Hj Ibrahim.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Havoc Reunion

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