Brunei Darussalam


In its first publication of 2008, the January-February edition of ASIA INC magazine special feature on INVEST BRUNEI from pages 48—59. Starting with The Brunei Forum, an invitation only conference by The Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) held in Singapore from 19-20 Feb to promote “awareness of Brunei Darussalam and its place in ASEAN …”  to the role of banks in particularly HSBC in helping the Brunei economy develop (pictured below CEO of HSBC Brunei Tareq Muhmood) to building a world-class industrial park spearheaded by the construction of the country’s first Methanol Plant. Asia Inc also spoke to the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources on Brunei’s aim to become a global player in the premium Halal market and positioning the country as an eco-tourism “hot spot.”

© ASIA INC Magazine | HSBC CEO photo © Jan Shim Photography

Many of us take photographs we see in magazines for granted but if you’ve ever wondered who takes them and how the photographer sets the scene and goes about getting the one photo out of a dozen or so captured during the interview. I have done more than a handful of these assignments over the years for a number of existing clients who wanted portraits of their CEO and Board Members for their new corporate brochure and more interestingly clients who hire me for magazine interviews, such as Asia Inc’s.

With magazine interviews, I work with the interviewer as well as the interviewee on location which is usually spur of the moment decisions on matters like where the interviewee should sit. There are of course exceptions where a client prefers to sit at a certain location he/she is comfortable and I respect their decision. I usually work with just one light source to get directional light on the subject’s face as you see in the photo above, triggered via on on-camera transmitter. The rest of the work involves a lot of patience and a keen eye to capturing and anticipating the power language—essentially a combination of facial expressions, hand gestures and body language.

Sounds like a simple and non-challenging job? Well, if you consider hand-holding the 5D and 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens weighing 3 Kgs for extended periods of time, in a certain crouched posture simple and non-challenging, hats off to you. Also, depending on the schedule between interviews, you can either have a relaxed drive to the next session or a mad rush caught in traffic peaks, etc.

My most recent CEO interviews were with two Japanese magazines who had been engaged by BEDB in similar capacity as Asia Inc’s in that different organizations are pulling all stops for the same objective to sell Brunei Darussalam as an investment destination.

Useful business contacts

Related photography links

17 thoughts on “INVEST BRUNEI

  1. Brunei’s aim to become a global player in the premium Halal market and positioning the country as an eco-tourism “hot spot.”

    This idea for Brunei becoming a Global Player for Halal Products and a Hot Spot for Eco-Tourism has been spoken about for ages, but that’s the problem, it has only been spoken about. Too much talk, not enough Walk.

    But I’ve seen an influx of tourists from China and other Asian regions but as a serious Eco-Tourist Hot Spot, I don’t really see that happening anytime soon.


  2. All good ideas that lead to their eventual success begin with a dialogue between 2 or more interested parties. The fruits of our labour may not be immediate as the road is often long and windy. I do know that various efforts in different economies however small or big are running in parallel to promote Brunei as the investment destination.

    I personally do not see a deadline for such efforts but that such efforts must gain momentum and commitment to constantly sell Brunei Darussalam. If there was one thing I learnt and have come to recognise in effective selling, it had to be PERSISTENCE—going after something wholeheartedly and generating a lot of interests and support along the way.

    Just as I have written about our very successful KNK Domestic Tourism initiatives, we all have a role to play in selling Brunei Darussalam especially when we travel abroad. Believe it or not, each of us matters, Citizens and Permanent Residents alike!


  3. 3kg weight! Sounds like you are doing a gym exercise in the midst of the interview and the shoot.

    Photography is really about capturing THE moment… Not an easy task… 🙂


  4. 3 kgs is fairly light compared to having two bodies, lens and flash hanging off each shoulder in a normal corporate event or wedding. Mounted with flash, four onboard batteries and occasionally additional battery packs attached to the camera body and vertical grip, the weight of each camera can easily be 4-5 kgs.


  5. Is it really easy to do business in Brunei if you are a foreigner? Also, as a woman, what are the rights? I mean, in some countries, a woman can only do business with another woman.


  6. Jenny,

    There are countless foreigners running businesses in Brunei for a very long time now. Businesses that cater to non corporate, non government organizations are perhaps the most straightforward while those who are looking to do business with the government and/or Brunei Shell Petroleum there are processes in place to qualify you as contractor. The same also applies if you’re doing business with other established Multi-National Companies here.

    In the thirteen years I was in the IT business, there were many notable and prominent women in the business. When it comes to doing businesses in Brunei, the phrase level playing field comes to mind based on observation substantiated by comments from colleagues in the business and the environment that I know today places greater emphasis on fair practices. As a student at the now defunct Australian Business College in Perth, WA, I submitted a research paper on the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and that was 18 years ago and social ‘maturity’ has come a loooong way since then. The ‘laws of survival and survivability’ come into play more than an actual legal framework that gives every entrepreneur/business person the right to compete than gender rights.

    Do I really know what I’m talking about? Maybe. Maybe not. I am hoping someone with more cred would post his/her thoughts to give you a more concrete answer.


  7. Hi Jen,

    What kind of business are you in – or interested in venturing into in Brunei? And yes, you are not obliged to have a woman as a partner to do business in Brunei.


  8. Hi Aida,

    I’m currently in the business of selling medical devices in the US, however, we are looking to expand beyond the retail industry and move into doing more of wholesale in certain parts of the world. So I was just wondering what kind of limitations does Brunei have in terms of conducting business as a woman. That’s all.


  9. No limitations as a woman, Jenny. But you may find the usual challenge selling medical devices. I am assuming you sell direct to hospitals/reasearch institutes? If you plan to sell to hospitals you will be going directly to the Ministry of Health, and one other private hospital. As for research institutes, there really is only government/public institutes and no private entities.

    All the best!


Be real. Let me know what you think ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s