Some years back my daughter Jewel ran her first long distance event — a 6 km run starting from and finishing at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in the Brunei capital, an event she was neither trained nor had much preparation for other than the occasional school practice. Back then I wasn’t very much involved with her running as I am today in her athletic training and competition. Cut a long story short, she completed the event and was among the top 30-something students out of what appeared to be a large number of participants from all schools in the country.
Last Sunday, Jewel participated in her second run this time a kilometer shorter which was held right in our home town, Seria. The difference this time she has had eleven months of athletic coaching, having earned several medals in 400m, 200m and 4x100m events, she’s in way better shape than she ever was. The transformation from the weak, migraine-prone asthmatic little girl to the determined athlete she is today, is nothing short of amazing. She is 13, and finished 5th in the Under 17 category.
A completely unplanned road trip from Seria to Bandar Seri Begawan I made yesterday led me to the photo of the magnificent and historic Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque, which is quite possibly the most photographed landmark of Brunei Darussalam. Leaving the house, I grabbed the Canon PowerShot G11 from the dry cabinet not realizing then that there wasn’t much battery power left. This photo is one of a series I managed to capture before battery power went out for good.
“POSITIONED majestically on an artificial lagoon near the banks of the Brunei River, the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) Mosque stands as among the most magnificent mosques ever built in the world.
With its golden dome and soaring white minarets, the mosque is often pictured as an oasis of serenity amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown Bandar Seri Begawan. The celebration of its golden anniversary heralds the mosque’s unique long-standing status as the heart of the capital and the symbol of Brunei’s deeply-rooted Islamic faith.
The mosque also incorporates Italian and Renaissance architectural styles, but with craftsmanship that reflects classical Islamic architecture. This makes the mosque as one of the most unique Islamic places of worship across the world. The mosque took four years to complete, from 4 February 1954 until 26 September 1958. His Highness Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien is remembered as the “Architect of Modern Brunei”. During his reign from 1950 until his abdication in 1967, the Sultan steered Brunei safely through the turbulent years following WWII, establishing the foundation for the nation’s independence and sovereignty. Through his determination and dedication, he had implemented the foundation to build the infrastructure, society and economy of modern Brunei and also ensuring the preservation of an independent Malay Muslim Monarchy in the modern world.”
I once made a mistake of identifying these insects as ants when in fact they are a colony of termites. I came across them this morning while trekking at the Sungai Liang Recreational Forest Park . Thing is, the piece of bark is right in the middle of a tarmac pavement, far away from where a nearest tree stands yet there is this one bark of all the other barks with this many termites feeding off it. Perhaps they were feeding on the tree before a strong gust of wind ripped the bark off sending it flying onto the pavement. Resilient little buggers!
Some termites like these feed on fungi, algae and lichens on tree bark. PHOTO: Canon Powershot G11