Brunei Darussalam


bruneitimes_woksoflife_02042009read this story on BT online

Our daily temperatures average no lower than 30 degrees Celsius on a good day and depending on your location, it can get very humid too. For many, the combination of soaring temps and coastal humidity is unthinkable and leave many scrambling for the nearest air conditioned refuge. Yet for many others, such conditions are an unavoidable part and parcel of their chosen profession. Like it or not, these people have some of the hottest jobs around. read more »

The hot wok of Soi Heng Coffee Shop
Chefs at Cheng Wah Restaurant and their fiery woks
One of the owners of "Lee Teck Ming" hawker stall known for their fried kway teow. On a good sunny afternoon you can catch this scene where a strong and very prominent ray of light hits the wok. Then, wait for the precise moment when the reflected light hits his face as seen here.
The popular "Two Brothers" duo. A personal favourite.


You may not realize just how incredibly hot, humid and cramped these kitchens can be and the best vantage point can often be difficult and inconvenient. Getting close to my subjects means putting the camera at some degree of risks. To accomplish this (as James Wong asked earlier), I had the camera body mounted on a heavy duty ball head which is secured to a monopod. Add a remote shutter release cable to complete the assembly. I imagine this is quite handy for war photographers too although I’ve never actually seen their setup.


11 thoughts on “WOKS OF LIFE

  1. i have been trying to get a nice wok forever…can you ask one of these experts what the best kind of wok is??? all the ones we’ve had here always burn on the bottom and the food sticks to the bottom portion…. we’ve had to throw out 3 ….

    nice photos btw 🙂


  2. Hi Jan, another feather on you rcap. Congratulations! I never knew that you are are a column writer in The Brunei Times. Which day ? Your fans will make a bee line to the news stand now 🙂

    Thanks for your kind contribution of your wonderful photos to the Penan cards project.


    1. Thanks Violette and you’re welcome on the new batch of images for the Penan cards. I look forward to getting the new set to add to my growing collection and wish you all the best in your charitable cause 🙂

      Yeah, I’ve been meaning to publish a blog post to announce it but kept telling myself I would do it after the next column. Next thing I know, 7 columns had been published …hmm, maybe I should have waited till the 10th. I still haven’t made up my mind how I’ll announce it (other than what I’ve done here) but I have an archive of high quality JPEGs dating back to the first article on February 23 2009 (published in conjunction to the 25th National Day celebration). Folder also contains news reportage archive (RBA Travel Fair and Baiduri Bank Chinese New Year Dinner Reception).


      Feel free to share the articles. They are also available online (minus the pictures) on The Brunei Times.


  3. well done. “Lee Teck Ming” hawker stall…the rays, the steam, and the reflection on the chef face.. and he seems imerged in his work…

    But I like “Two Brothers” for it’s the composition and the chef with the chopstick and his face says it all…
    and seems quite cool with his work huh..?

    Great Job….


  4. Read the article in the Brunei Times. Some of the best foods are found in the smallest “hottest” locations.

    “These small yet profitable family owned businesses are threatened by the unwillingness of the future generation to continue the legacy.” I guess a passion and a desire to want to take over must be there. Maybe trying to find a way to make doing this “attractive” is necessary, by force it may be resented.


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