Brunei Darussalam


A group of guys are in the locker room when a mobile phone rings. One of them picks it up.

Man: “Hello.”
Woman: “Honey, it’s me. Are you at the club?”
Man: “Yes.”
Woman: “Well, I have news. The house we wanted is back on the market. They’re asking for $950,000.”
Man: “Well then, go ahead and make an offer, but make it $1.2 million so we’ll be sure to get it.”
Woman: “OK. I’ll see you later. I love you!”
Man: “I love you too.”

The man hangs up. Then he asks, “Does anyone know whose phone this is?”

—Denise Stewart via Reader’s Digest Sept 2008

Well, it’s the start of school holiday season and I thought parents deserve a laugh. We spent our first weekends at the in-laws in the capital and boy does each stay-over involve so much recurring shopping and eating in no particular order of preference. I think this is a national past time and a main driver for the local economy. Much like our roundabouts where you only pause momentarily for the red light but always find yourself inevitably going round and round. Being an out of towner, I like to be surprised by new  architectures and facades that spring up from time to time and I thought the new NATIONAL INSURANCE building in Kiulap looked interesting.
© Jan Shim Photography
© Jan Shim Photography
© Jan Shim Photography
© Jan Shim Photography

After a hearty dim sun breakfast at an old establishment, we drove around some more and shopped for stuff we don’t really need and more eating when we don’t have to. Granted, if all customers shared my attitude towards needless spending, the economy may just grind to a halt somewhat. But the politics of spending is an interesting subject that’s debatable and is a subject rife with controversy. But that’s for another blog post when the time is ripe (and a chance to have my own HEROES style intro “PREVIOUSLY ON SHIMWORLD…” 🙂

Back at my in-laws and in the hot room, a big pot of water was brought to boil where two packs containing  eight bundles of Japanese Cha Soba noodles were being prepared for lunch. This time it’s not just cooking for my wife and daughter but also enough for my in-laws most of whom love Japanese cuisine. Except, most do not normally order cold Japanese noodles when they do eat out (recent home cooked Sobas included the white variety seen in my Food page). I was drawn to the old style stove where gas is supplied through tanks and is often lit by good old matches when modern lighters fail. Unlike folks in the Belait district where residents enjoy the convenience of piped gas, residents and businesses in the Brunei capital all rely on tank exchanges.
© Jan Shim Photography

With old style gas stove comes old style windows that allow fairly diffused light in. It’s bright enough for my intended purpose and the well-lit scenes below can be mistaken for one that’s lit by, say, a lightsphere!
© Jan Shim Photography
© Jan Shim Photography

So while the adults were busy chatting away in the kitchen and enjoying the Sobas, the kids on the other hand completely immersed in their own world of online gaming—none other than Maple Story! I learnt a thing or two from the recent USA presidential campaign. Looking at the landslide victory of Obama’s campaigning, it became clear the appeal of Obama’s web presence among the younger generation. While my kids were online, I got both of them to pimp to the Maple Story community 🙂 For all you gear heads, the Dell STUDIO laptop is a high definition 17″ 1920×1280 screen, 4GB RAM, Core2Duo CPU, 500GB of storage and best of all, a nice spacious keyboard with a numeric keypad. It’s a shame Vista OS couldn’t be faster than XP Pro!
© Jan Shim Photography

School holidays do not mean not using their head. At times when they’re not in front of the computer, they’re cracking their head at chess or in a touristy Uniquely Singapore game of monopoly.

© Jan Shim Photography

On some weekends, the family get together for some sisterly game of mahjong. Combining the sounds of crashing tiles and kids yelling over Maple Story, a weekend at the in-laws can leave me my ears ringing long after I’ve left.
© Jan Shim Photography


  1. last picture still creeps me out! LOL… But you have to admit that the clicking and clacking sounds give the place a certain ambience and can even lull a particular person (one who shall not be named) to sleep!!


  2. Again, very nice pics. I just want to point out that in Lumut, we use gas tanks too. So it doesn’t apply to all areas in “Belait district”.


    1. Ah Sleepy, I made that declaration with a certain degree of
      uncertainty. I have relatives in Lumut and very likely in the same
      neighbourhood where you’re in (this time making an assumption with a
      degree of certainty) and had stepped into their kitchen a few times
      but not observed if gas supply was piped or via tanks. Thanks for
      clearing that up.


  3. Odd that but I guess it’s down to the fact piped gas infrastructure were implemented way before Kampong Lumut was established. Makes me appreciate my piped gas that more now knowing the inconvenience of having to carry gas tanks up and down the stairs when an exchange is due!


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