Brunei Darussalam


DON’T BE FOOLED BY THIS BURGER …. beyond fried egg, raw lettuce and grilled beef patty and soft  buns lie mental and physical exhaustion, a surprisingly early punishment for the new year!

It would have been more appropriate to name this blog The Week After but that would only give the impression that this is the first day I’ve had breakfast this week which isn’t true, of course. That said, I’ve just had a really hectic week beginning with the WELLA Trend Vision 2008 meeting and day-long photography sessions, CEO portraits during interviews with Japanese business magazine Diamond Weekly, start of the children’s swimming season, Brunei Shell Petroleum’s SEN Dept. Appreciation Night dinner and ending the week with the last shoot of Excapade Sushi Restaurant’s new menu. 

© Jan Shim Photography

The commutes alone were something of a challenge. Not in any real hurry to get home after each day, I made several unscheduled stops along the way either to refuel (the car) or grab some junk food to distract myself from ZZzz behind the wheel. So I end up spending when I was supposed to be going home but it’s all justified—KNK (promotes local spending) and common sense road safety (being alert and responsible means one less road fatality statistic).

In all seriousness, I don’t know how I do it … my car has clocked 245,000 KMs and this is my third car. My first car, a 24-valve Mitsubishi Sigma had over 200Ks too while my second car, the Subaru WRX Impreza (aka Silver Bullet) had 109K when I sold it. Many hundreds of oil changes, repairs, and performance enhancements later, I’m still doing it month after month! Either my threshold for routine matters is quite high (just a tad below SNAP!) or I’ve lost my sense to feel ….

See how I tend to get carried away with writing? A combination of late nights, caffeine and sleep deprivation equals lack of oxygen and this does weird things to the brain, including having home made beef burger and a cup of cold orange juice—something out of the ordinary for sure but nothing too radical.


  1. But that’s just life! I’ve tried spending the night at my in-laws, a choice many agree is the right thing to do but each time it was torturous not being home where my wife and kids and not to mention, creative zone and equipment. On the road with the laptop vs at the studio with everything else, it’s just very different. Naturally if I am ever that exhausted I wouldn’t even think about driving.

    Yesterday was another full day with the BEDB and Japanese Journalist from Asia Market Review magazine, having shot CEO portraits during the interviews from the Brunei Capital to Belait district. We conclude the assignment today at the Japanese Embassy afterwhich I’ll stay in BSB a bit to finish some outstanding work and hopefully I can deliver them this afternoon to avoid unnecessary commute, even one I consider a blessing.


  2. Wow I don’t think I can ever live the commuter’s life! Driving home 30 odd mins with after work traffic pun sudah ngalih. My car will be 4 years old this June and it has only clocked in 34,000km!!


  3. With all the travelling, all the coffee, all the sleep depravation … how can you keep the creative juices flowing, how can you keep knocking out great photo after great photo ?

    You’re like a robot, man. 😀


  4. To compound an already hectic last week to a drumming start of this week is our broadband connectivity problems! Worse possble time to be struck with internet problems when work beckons. Finally four days of interviews with two Japanese magazines are over, the first team had arrived home safely and are in contact over the images to use etc while the second interviewer left today.

    The Japanese Embassy is excited to receive my hand picked images for their web updates but internet problems meant I had to burn the few images onto a DVD and dropped it off.

    Sitting here at Coffee Bean Gadong with a double-shot cappuccino and an early afternoon drizzle that just sent me into a trance, not having recovered and in fact, struggling to fight the state of drowsiness having worked the final Excapade Sushi menu images till 2AM. 5 hours later, got up to sort out some paperwork and made a copy of the back logged shoots I needed to finish.

    The network is pathetic. Gmail wouldn’t load, my IMs timed out but the people around me are, in their own world, happy and seemingly unfazed by what is beginning to get on my nerves. How nice photographers in the days of film would just drop off their rolls to a mini-lab and all they had to do was wait for the prints. Their films were in perspective left to the minilab operator. Today, in a stark contrast to the days gone by, digital photographers are a lot more involved in the process of post processing before they are sent to the minilab for printing. All in a day’s work to some but the work is never finished.


  5. If I didn’t have to work til 6.30pm (the earliest) today, I would’ve ran off to Coffee Bean Gadong right away and buy you a nice cold drink … Heheh … 😀


  6. Wow I don’t think I can ever live the commuter’s life!

    Commuter’s life or lackthereof. The upside of commuting is that we are constantly exposed to the developments in the country, much like a backpacker—everything from who’s building a new house, district events that we would have otherwise missed, cyclists training for a race, His Majesty and his entourage, Ministers on their way to work, planes taking off. The downside is sometimes we run into massive jams that are either caused by an accident or as in a recent incident, a police road block right outside of Soon Lee Sg Liang that resulted in a jam extending to the Lumut by-pass U-turn. After a long day at work, this is the last thing you want getting in the way of home!

    Cummuting is just 2.5 hours of the day’s equation. Carrying a backpack of camera equipment that easily weighs 10-ish kilos is quite another and the job requires us to be on our feet most part of the working day with typically the EOS 5D, Battery Grip, 70-200mm f2.8 IS (wanna guess how heavy this combo weighs?) and remote light stand gunning one venue to another as in the case of this interview assignment.

    With all the travelling, all the coffee, all the sleep depravation … how can you keep the creative juices flowing, how can you keep knocking out great photo after great photo? You’re like a robot, man. 😀

    Interestingly, someone recently said the same thing (“like a robot”) about David Cheok. Longer work hours, shorter sleep time, there just isn’t enough hours in a day! Both of us can very well be IM-ing as early as 1-2 AM when we’re rushing deadlines. Unlike David, I still get up at 6-ish AM regardless of how late I get to bed … my body clock has been in a wrong time zone for years. Very rarely do I get a chance to sleep past 7am!

    If I didn’t have to work til 6.30pm (the earliest) today, I would’ve ran off to Coffee Bean Gadong right away and buy you a nice cold drink … Heheh … 😀

    Thanks for the thought! Something other than coffee is much welcomed :). By the time I got home, I dropped my bags, took a hot shower and I had that slow-mo Chariots of Fire moment walking towards my bed—everything else that I had planned to do last night became secondary!!


  7. I was also caught in the recent road block at Soon Lee Sg Liang on my way back to Lumut. Was hoping to reach home much earlier and ended up got stuck in that Jam. Well am just slightly luckier than you that I just need to turn into Lumut and that’s home.

    Reminded me of the days we used to stay in KB Town and I have to commute at least once every week home. Been doing that since 1994, sometimes just get so tired of the travelling. Once, I commute daily as I need to get home to do my assignments. Moving to Lumut last year did cut down the travelling time. But still, the driving is not pleasant when alone and tired most of the time.

    With the driving and backpack you got yourself into, I can imagine how much you tension you have put onto your body especially your shoulder. Do take care when you can and let your body rest. ^^


  8. I have today till Friday to finish some work in my post processing work before I commit yet another weekend (yes, both days) to work and on top of that, I’m attending, I think, the BLNG Emblem Night at Rizqun Hotel on Saturday after an entire day of shoot for our national carrier and continuing on Sunday! Another precious weekend with the family not to be. I also had to turn down an invitation to attend the district’s first KB Bloggers meet organised by Princess Nashwa

    Awww…..that’s too bad Jan. Husini Bakar @ Kantalensa is unable to make it for the same reason like you; to attend the BLNG Emblem. Surprisingly, everyone seem to have strings of work commitments this month. Yeah you are one of the top five bloggers we intend to put on the spotlight that night, since you hail from KB 😛 Sadly, it’s not meant to be I guess. Well this event is a start, we will initiate other gatherings among KB bloggers again this year. So there’s always a next time. Please keep in touch. Thank you.

    Having said all this, a closer look at what drives me, it’s no surprising to find that stress and coffee are the two major contributing factors that have kept me going, as have researchers revealed some years back their findings on what had kept corporate America going—coffee!


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