Sunday, February 23, 2014

Happy 30th National Day!

Happy 30th National Day to everyone in Brunei. From the Sunday Herald of Scotland today on our 30th National Day by sheer coincidence, there is a letter to the editor entitled "If Brunei can do it, then so can Scots". Brunei is cited as an example that Scotland can emulate:

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If Brunei can do it, then so can Scots
Sunday 23 February 2014

Thirty years ago, my wife and I had the privilege of attending the first National Day ceremonies of a small, oil-rich country, Brunei Darussalam, which had had full independence imposed upon it by the government of the United Kingdom six weeks earlier.

Although not a democratic country, any reluctance to accept independence was pushed aside by the ruler, Sultan Sir Hassanal Bolkiah, who adopted a positive approach which was embraced by a population determined to make a successful independent country.

Since then Brunei Darussalam has played above its weight, building up its armed forces - notably its Clyde-built navy purchasing vessels - to defend its oil and gas reserves. Its army and small air force also provide a sound defence base. It has strived to build an industrial base - not always successfully - but endeavouring to diversify its industries. It even continued a monetary union with another country, Singapore, to the detriment of neither.

Scotland, with its diverse resources and industrial base, is better positioned than Brunei to survive as an independent country. As Alistair Darling continues to impersonate the Rev IM Jolly combined with Private Fraser ("We're doomed") and George Osborne recruits Messrs Alexander and Balls, along with their parties, to align themselves with his "nasty party" (as first defined by Theresa May in 2002), surely it is time for Scotland to emulate and surpass a small country such as Brunei Darussalam in its optimism? Brunei may be small but it performs way above its weight and is a member of the United Nations in its own right.

If a country with a population the size of Aberdeen can thrive and be a voice on the world stage, why are Scots continually told we are too small to be worthy of determining our future and our affairs?

Colin R Mowat
Laurencekirk

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Brunei National Day 2014 American Greetings

Brunei Darussalam's 23rd National Day is coming. We are beginning to receive congratulations from many countries. I found this one from John Kerry, the American Secretary of State which you can link for yourself at http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/02/221845.htm. Not many know that Brunei sign a Friendship Agreement with the American government way back in the mid 19th century. I have written about it in the past. Here is the greeting:

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On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send my most heartfelt congratulations to the people of Brunei Darussalam as you celebrate your 30th National Day on February 23.

Our formal diplomatic relations began in 1984, but the friendship between our two countries goes back more than 160 years. The depth and value of this relationship was plain for me to see during my two visits to your wonderful “Abode of Peace” last year. Our excellent cooperation in both bilateral and multilateral settings is vital to the prosperity and stability of the region. Brunei’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations during 2013 was commendable in every way.

From English language training to energy cooperation, our robust relationship is a force for good in the region. I wish all the people of Brunei the very best on this special anniversary and look forward to many more years of working closely together.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yachts on Brunei River


I bought a whole bunch of black and white photographs and will be uploading them one by one. This one intrigued me the most. There were yachts on the Brunei River in the 1950s and 1960s. I have almost forgotten that the Brunei Yacht Club now in Serasa used to be located where the current Arts and Handicraft Centre is. If there are still yachts on Brunei River, it would look like Auckland or Sydney and other watery cities around the world. Though I wonder how they would cope with the criss crossing high speed water taxis!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Old Modern Postcard of Brunei


This looks like a modern postcard of Brunei. But looks can be deceiving. This postcard is more than 30 years old, believe it or not.

What gives this away are probably several things. One is the Royal Dais. The location of this Royal Dais is in front of the SOAS Mosque. Nowadays the Royal Dais is permanently in front of the Secretariat Building which the Mosque is now to the right of the Royal Dais.

Secondly look closely at the flags waving in front of the Royal Dais. There is a Union Jack clearly visible. Only in pre-1984 was the Union Jack, the British flag was clearly seen as Brunei at that time was still a 'protectorate' of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Finally, the uniforms. I am sure the uniforms have changed but I just don't know enough about military uniforms to describe the changes.

Additionally, which is not visible, the postcard was published by Dairy Farm, a company which no longer exist in Brunei. My best guess is that this postcard was printed about early 1980s.

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