Brunei Darussalam


JAN 1, 2009 | UPDATE
Received a lovely e-card from Andrea & Mark whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing while they were spending their final year in Brunei having returned to Holland for a few months now. Thanks to a chance meeting with Andrea one morning that led to the Wetlands Outing and then finally Mark’s publication Winging the Bornean Skies.

Dear Jan,

With this card (attached) we want to wish you all the best for 2009. Do you know this Firecrest? It’s a tiny bird (smaller than a sunbird) and hard to find. But if you do see them you really see something beautiful.This is what live is all about isn’t it ….. Andrea & Mark


DEC 23, 2008 It’s Christmas, well, almost and I have just an hour and a half to finish this post before my ride to the airport gets here. I’m heading to Kota Kinabalu with my family and my old faithful, the EOS 20D, is coming along. How I ended up packing a couple more lenses this time I have no idea and I haven’t got time for the to-bring-or-not-to-bring routine now. Gifts come in many forms be it physical, literary or digitally. I want to thank a number of people for their generousity and most of all, their individual ways of saying that I’ve made a difference. Similarly, they too have made a difference in my life.

I’ll start off with Cristina whom I got acquainted on Facebook and we have more things in common than we care to count. She emailed me a seasons greetings with this exclusive e-card of her beautiful friend, Tracey, whom she photographed very recently. Besides love of photography and a later than late night IM  chat buddy, Christina and hubby run Luxe Studios based in Canada. She has just launched her photography site Geminie Photography (Bruneian visitors may find the site a little slow to load but do check out her articles. I thought Friday’s Trash The Dress was really interesting)


This was an unexpected surprise from the ladies who have been instrumental in raising money for the Penan Charity cause. Violette and Shida had just returned from another trip to visit the Penan community a day earlier and we met for coffee at Soi Hing Coffee Shop. I wasn’t supposed to post these pictures just yet as there are couple of photos rightfully belong here but Shida is presently abroad so that has to wait. Meanwhile, I decided to go ahead in the spirit of the gift giving season and in appreciation of being given such a unique and meaningful item—a hand crafted frame that is custom boxed to contain authentic ear rings of the Penan tribe! One word to describe it—”WOW”—such a beauty that it adds an undescribable meaning to my studio. Thank you very much!





Besides a digital image and a coffee shop goodie bag, I also received comments from readers that I feel deserve a mention.

I just  signed up to receive emails from your group after reading and viewing all the postings at your site.  I am really impressed and enjoy the fact that all of the artists post their works and also admit what lenses they are using! This is my kind of site and I find it very helpful and informative.  I like your Monorail story, wish I could go to Australia and ride on the monorail too! — Pamela J.

As a member of the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) I’d like to add that most wedding photographers don’t make an exorbitant living, as their statistics show.  Many people think that we overcharge…without knowing how much work goes into just photographing one wedding, and providing a nice album, etc…  I’ve worked both as a commercial photographer and in portraits & weddings and enjoy all of it, luckily.  If I wanted to be very wealthy I would probably choose another field!  Love of photography and it’s artistry is what keeps me going.  Thanks Jan for a great and informative blog! — Diana K.

During my stay in KK, I plan to meet a number of people for coffee, one of them being Louis Pang to further our discussion of the workshop and I hope to also meet up with fashion photographer Michele Yong who in her email said, “Sure I can meet for coffee/beer/liquid of choice” 🙂

My time is almost up. I’ll have no access to the web while I’m on the road but  you can sure to hear from me before 2008 is up! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


  1. Hi Jan! Merry Christmas to you and your family 😀 It’s almost 2am here and I’m still up… and guess what? With no help from coffee! lol.. meaning my head is about to drop on the keyboard any minute, so I’d better get off soon and find a more suitable location for it to rest 😛 Thank you for including me in your wonderful post, I look forward to many more late night discussions 🙂 Have a great trip!



    It’s great to be home after 4 long days and nights. Thank you everyone for the festive messages and I hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday as much as I had a productive one in KK. Other than Michele, I managed to meet everyone I had planned and more and visited more places that we had intended.

    What began in Singapore, I continued the Starbucks Rendezvous tradition in KK where various meetings took place. I’m still recovering from exhaustion and food poisoning, a side effect of excessive eating—a lesson I learned that I’m nowhere near the appetite of my in-laws when it comes to indulgence! I’m feeling a lot better after an early night and puking my guts out for an entire night and the next morning while I still managed a night out from Texas to Shenanigans at the Hyatt before I finally surrendered.

    Places of interests we visited included Gayana Resort, Manukan Island, One Borneo Mall, City Mall and a whole lot of eateries I don’t care to remember (makes me nauseous just thinking about them). I managed to fill 2 4GB cards with over a 1000 images shot on the 20D and 50mm, 10-22mm and 28-135mm lenses compared to my recent Singapore trip where I brought only the 50mm lens. So, expect to see my next blog post before you start the count down to 2009.


  3. Happy holidays and wishing you Happy New Year!

    I’d recently came back from KK….on road! I was blessed that the queue wasn’t that long as I expected. It was my first road trip to KK too!!

    I was pleasantly surprised with 1Borneo and I managed to fulfill my ‘kepunan’ of eating Dome’s Chicken & Mushroom pie!!!

    I’m still saving some dosh to get me my canon 50D poison, so I brought my compact G7 along. Sadly, I end up taking few pics and more short videos instead.

    Anyway, I’m counting the days…(lots of it!) for my second trip there.

    Enjoy the new year!!!!!!


    1. Thanks Shamsul,

      Sounds like you had a really great time in KK! This was my second
      trip and compared to the first where I drove in a convoy of five cars
      and number of years earlier, this has been the most meaningful to me.
      Having driven, I steered clear of another long drive and decided to
      take the plane instead and since we have family members who are KK
      residents, we were chauffeured everywhere so from that aspect alone,
      my capacity to appreciate KK hadn’t been compromised.

      At this point, while feeling a whole lot better after 2 days of
      taking things easy and medication, some photos are ready for my next
      post. There are significant number of images that I think I’m going
      to post them in stages (subject to a rather last minute and baseless
      decision). Were it not for the fact that I had recently spent an
      afternoon at Vivo City, I might have been more appreciative of One
      Borneo but I cannot say I found it any more or less interesting. All
      these “malls” subscribe to the same concept unfortunately and things
      are not particularly attractive either so I’d have to conclude that
      shopping wouldn’t necessarily be a motivation. Our family spent a
      great deal on food and we bought nothing, coming from a family that’s
      known to shop till really drop!

      What’s worth mentioning is the apartment we stayed in (the Marina
      Court) was like a second home to scores of Bruneian cars. The walking
      distance to Warisan Square makes the apartment a real hot spot. In
      Warisan Sq. there’s Starbucks, Esprit, Coffee Bean (across the road),
      Times Books, Fish and Co., Big Apple Donuts, MacDonalds, The Body
      Shop .. more shopping convenience than we have the time to spare.

      If things work out as planned, I’ll be back for some work in KK.


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